Facebook has moved to repatriate 1.5bn Facebook members who were previously under the jurisdiction of Facebook Ireland by transferring them to the auspices of its US HQ, thus circumventing tightened European privacy laws.
The administrative switch comes at a tumultuous time for the social media giant which finds itself embroiled in a privacy scandal with Cambridge Analytica involving its handling of personal data which has forced it to promise clearer rules on privacy.
Europe is braced for the looming arrival of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will place greater onus on companies to properly protect, use and gather any information they possess.
The changes will impact all 1.5 billion Facebook members in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America, equivalent to 70% of its 2 billion global membership, who will join their 239 million compatriots as being classified in North America.
This will leave 370 million European members who will be governed by the GDPR laws.
Stephen Deadman, deputy chief global privacy officer at Facebook, said: “The GDPR and EU consumer law set out specific rules for terms and data policies which we have incorporated for EU users. We have been clear that we are offering everyone who uses Facebook the same privacy protections, controls and settings, no matter where they live.”
Yesterday Facebook requested facial recognition consent from European and Canadian users, sparking renewed fears of an invasion of privacy.