Facebook Attempts to Limit Reach of EU Privacy Law

Ismael LynchApr 20, 2018

Instead, Facebook has made a decision to move the responsibility for all non-U.S. and Canadian accounts from Ireland - where the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) would have jurisdiction - to Facebook's home in California, which is not subject to the new rules. As of next month, the service agreements for users outside the US, Canada and the European Union will shift to a site regulated by the social network's main offices in California rather than its global headquarters in Ireland. That means when the strict data rules under the E.U.'s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) role around next month, Facebook would have to protect almost 1.9 billion users, including those in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Latin America. Facebook is trying to reduce the impact of this law for themselves.

The FAQ provides more information about what information is shared with developers and third parties, as well as what kind of data the company records and why. According to the judge, the potential damages could amount to billions of dollars. Facebook now says that if "you are a resident of or have your principal place of business in the United States or Canada", the ToS are an agreement between you and Facebook Inc which is based in the U.S., otherwise, it is an agreement with Facebook Ireland Limited.

Facebook Canada head of public policy Kevin Chan denied that the company would do such a thing. While Facebook claims that there will be no changes, some disagree.

In a statement given to Reuters, Facebook played down the importance of the terms of service change, saying it plans to make the privacy controls and settings that Europe will get under GDPR available to the rest of the world.

Following the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, MEPs will discuss data protection and citizens' privacy with Commissioner Jourová on Wednesday (18 April) at 15h. Soon, all non-European users will be governed by more lenient, uniform policies employed in the USA and Canada. However, Facebook said it would be continuing to improve and simplify some features like the "download my data" feature that lets a user view their archive.

What if the European Union offered to extend coverage under their new data privacy/protection law (GDPR) to anyone who requested it, no matter where they lived? Next month, the social network will change this situation, leaving under the protection of the European laws, only Europeans.

The company, however, did show its red line this week, when it said it would require European users to accept ad targeting if they want to use the service.

Ireland was unaware of the change.

Facebook will be rolling out new privacy choices to users under the GDPR, however.

Other multinational companies are also planning changes. New terms that take effect May 8 move non-Europeans to contracts with US -based LinkedIn Corp.

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