The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on 25th May this year.
If you’re unfamiliar with this piece of legislation, it’s essentially a set of laws that govern what data companies can collect, requiring them to obtain an explicit ‘opt-in’ from users before doing so. It also demands that if a data breach does occur, the company affected must disclose the breach immediately.
The GDPR is going to affect a lot of tech companies operating in Europe, including Facebook, which has its foreign HQ in Ireland, a country that, while offering fantastic corporate tax-saving advantages (as long as you aren’t Apple – ed), is still an EU member state.
When GDPR becomes law, it requires Facebook to apply its changes to 1.9 billion users outside the US and Canada. Facebook, however, is trying to exclude around 1.5 billion users from the GDPR’s protection.
Reuters has reported that Facebook has quietly moved to limit the GDPR’s reach, by trying make sure it only applies to European users when it comes into effect. This means that the 1.5 billion users in Africa, Asia, Australia and the Middle East would fall outside the GDPR’s data protection.
Essentially, this move is Facebook’s attempt to limit liability, because failure to comply with the GDPR could result in fines of up to 4 percent of global annual revenue, which as Reuters points out, would cost Facebook billions.
The report comes at a rather trying time for Facebook, which is currently under the spotlight for the Cambridge Analytica debacle, in which it was revealed that the data from millions of users was improperly harvested.