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New Data Transfer Agreement Will Ensure That Facebook and Instagram Remain Operational in Europe

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Social Media Fuels Division and Angst – But Solving the Underlying Issues at Play is Hugely Complex

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So it seems like Facebook and Instagram won’t be shut down in Europe after all.

As you may recall, early last month, there was a sudden burst of speculation around the future of Meta’s apps in Europe after Meta shared this note in an update to the SEC:

“In August 2020, we received a preliminary draft decision from the Irish Data Protection Commission (IDPC) that preliminarily concluded that Meta Platforms Ireland’s reliance on Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) in respect of European user data does not achieve compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and preliminarily proposed that such transfers of user data from the European Union to the United States should therefore be suspended. If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on SCCs or rely upon other alternative means of data transfers from Europe to the United States, we will likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe.”

As we noted at the time, this is not new – the EU privacy regulator sent Meta a preliminary order back in 2020 ordering the suspension of data transfers to the US, in line with GDPR provisions. Meta’s been working towards a solution ever since, but it noted this in its SEC guidance (which it had also noted in several of its SEC notes previously) to ensure full transparency on risk.

But this time, maybe due to the wording, reporting ramped up, and Meta was forced to issue an official response, saying that it hasno desire to withdraw from Europe”

Now, it seems like it will be a non-issue anyway, with the President of the EU Commission announcing that a new, preliminary agreement on transatlantic data flows has been established in the US.

So all that panic was for nothing – though there was, of course, a risk that Meta could have been cut off, and that its services could have been removed from the EU, if such an agreement could not be reached.

Then again, the coverage at the time suggested that many Europeans were not overly phased by the concept of a Facebook-free world, with many seemingly welcoming the change, if it were to come.

As reported by Bloomberg:

“After being hacked I’ve lived without Facebook and Twitter for four years and life has been fantastic,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck told reporters at an event alongside French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire in Paris on Monday. “I can confirm that life is very good without Facebook and that we would live very well without Facebook,” Le Maire added.”

In some ways, it would be interesting to see what things are like without Facebook and Instagram, as a measure of their true impact. But then again, many people are now reliant on these services, both for business and personal needs, so there would be negative consequences along with the perceived, theoretical benefits.

It’s all academic anyway, because it seems like Facebook will remain online for Europeans for the foreseeable future as this new agreement is put in place.

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Europeans, you can either relax, or lament what could have been, dependent on your perspective.



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WhatsApp Launches ‘Call Links’ to Better Facilitate Group Audio and Video Chats

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WhatsApp Launches ‘Call Links’ to Better Facilitate Group Audio and Video Chats

WhatsApp has announced the launch of a new Call Links feature, which, as it sounds, will enable you to share a link to invite others to join a group chat in the app.

As you can see in these examples, you’ll now be able to create dedicated URL links for WhatsApp group video and audio chats, which will make it easier for others to join the discussion in the app.

When available (the option is being rolled out this week), you’ll be able to see the Call Link option within your ‘Calls’ tab, enabling you to create a shareable link to get people into your chats.

It could be an easy way to help enhance community connection, and facilitate engagement, while brands could also use the option to better connect with influencers and advocates, in a more direct, intimate way.

For example, you could run an exclusive chat to discuss your upcoming product launch, or seek feedback on potential updates. Meta’s says that it’s also working on secure, encrypted video calling for up to 32 people as well, so there could soon be a range of ways to use the option as a means to spotlight specific audience segments and engage with them direct.

And with more engagement switching to messaging tools, that’s definitely worth considering.

Indeed, as part of a recent product announcement, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that:

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Most people use feeds to discover content and use messaging for deeper connections.”

As such, it may be time to start considering how you can lean into this shift, and better align with how users are now connecting, in order to maximize community and engagement.

Feeds are increasingly being overtaken by entertainment, so if you want to tap into the connective benefits of the medium, that may no longer be the place to be to reach your fans.

Messaging, and messaging groups, could be an important consideration going forward, and these new tools provide more options on this front.



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