Europe’s GDPR privacy protections are set to go into effect on May 25th and we’ve gotten indication from Facebook that the company plans to comply with it. While we know that the social giant will comply, the question remains as to if the company will extend those consumer protections for users outside Europe. Over the past several months, Facebook has given a few answers to that question.
Company CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Reuters in earlier in April that the company will be extending it “in spirit” elsewhere but then told Congressman Gene Green during his hearing last week, “We believe that everyone around the world deserves good privacy controls…The GDPR requires us to do a few more things and we are going to extend that to the world.” Now Reuters reports that whether or not Facebook extends those same protections to users around the world, the company is at least making sure that it won’t face any punishment by the European Union if it decides to not extend any protections.
Right now, there are around 1.5 billion Facebook users in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin American are held to terms of service that are connected to the company’s Ireland headquarters. That subsidiary will fall under GDRP jurisdiction. Soon, Facebook will change it so that only European users will fall under GDPR. The company is doing this so that everyone else will be subject to more lenient US regulations. In a statement to Reuters, Facebook said that the move was largely due to the “specific language” that’s required by the new EU law, but noted that “We apply the same privacy protections everywhere, regardless of whether your agreement is with Facebook Inc or Facebook Ireland.”
In the new European regulations, a company can be fined up to four percent of its global annual revenue for GDPR infractions, so it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that the company is making moves to make sure that an additional 1.5 billion of its users don’t fall under the EU jurisdiction. It’s not just Facebook that will be making this change either. Reuters reports that LinkedIn is also making similar changes.