Facebook to port UK users onto US agreements

32m | Natalie Bannerman

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Facebook has confirmed plans to move its UK users to new agreements with its corporate headquarters in California. The move could see UK users distance themselves from the more stringent European Union (EU) privacy rules, post Brexit. The changes are due to come into effect in the new year and follows similar moves by the likes of Google which announced similar plans back in February.

UK users will receive a notification of the changes to their terms and conditions in the first half of 2021. Both companies have additional European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland which will remain in the EU changing the legal relationship between the two. Speaking to Reuters, Facebook's UK division said: "Like other companies, Facebook has had to make changes to respond to Brexit and will be transferring legal responsibilities and obligations for UK users from Facebook Ireland to Facebook Inc.

There will be no change to the privacy controls or the services Facebook offers to people in the UK". Under the new terms, UK users will still be subject to UK privacy law, which at present still largely mirrors the EU's GDPR rules. In addition, to wanting to distance itself from the EU's granular data control rules, those close to the matter also point to Facebook wanting to maximise on the 2018 US Cloud Act, which allows the UK and US to easily exchange data about cloud computing users.

In tandem, there are growing concerns that the UK could try and loosen its privacy rules post-Brexit in an attempt to create more favourable conditions for free trade agreements. UK information industry regulators said they had been in touch with Facebook, "We are aware of Facebook's plans and will continue to engage with the company in the new year," said a spokeswoman at the Information Commissioner's Office to Nasdaq.

In related news, Facebook recently came under fire being sued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the grounds of 'anticompetitive conduct'.

The news follows an extensive investigation carried out by the FTC's Technology Enforcement Division, a collection of attorneys general of 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam, which found that Facebook carried out a strategy to get rid of any competition in the space and retain its monopoly.


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