Facebook Circumventing Incoming EU Privacy Law: Report

Facebook is moving to circumvent the incoming General Data Protection Regulation set to go into effect in the European Union next month as much as it is legally allowed to, Reuters reports, citing an official confirmation from the social media giant. All 1.9 billion Facebook users outside of North America have previously agreed to terms of service with the firm's Irish subsidiary as part of the process of registering for a Facebook account, yet 1.5 billion of them will see their agreements transferred to another unit of the company outside of the EU's jurisdiction. As a result, only 400 million Europeans with a Facebook account will be able to benefit from the protections offered by GDPR which, among other things, requires digital companies to clearly communicate the scope of user data they harvest and the manner in which they use that information.

The move isn't unexpected even despite the fact that Facebook already vowed to go above and beyond what GDPR requires of it when it comes to protecting the online privacy of its users, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other company officials previously going on record to state that people outside of the EU will still benefit from improved protections in the spirit of GDPR but the tools made available to them will be purpose-built to comply with laws in their respective countries. The decision to move over 70-percent of its users outside of GDPR's reach also lowers the potential liability Facebook could be facing under the incoming law in case of any violations, with the European Commission already agreeing to fines amounting to up to four-percent of any violator's annual revenue. In Facebook's case, that could mean penalties of over $1.6 billion, based on the company's consolidated financial report for 2017 that saw it report a turnover of approximately $40.6 billion.

GDPR is going into effect on May 25 and will put Facebook, Google, and every other data company operating in the political bloc under much harsher scrutiny in the context of information mining practices, regardless of their purpose. The world's largest social media network is already facing significant public pressure due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal that's still unfolding after it came to light that a single Facebook quiz managed to compromise up to 87 million users in 2014, with the implication being that many similar apps existed until the company forbade developers to share data with third parties a year later, though some may still be operating under the radar and against the platform's terms of use to this date.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]
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