Technology

Facebook to move users outside Europe ahead of new data regulations

Facebook to move users outside Europe ahead of new data regulations

The online social network is making changes that ensure the number will be much smaller.

Facebook members who are outside the United States and Canada fall under the terms of service set by Facebook's worldwide headquarters in Ireland.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament renewed its call for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify about the data privacy scandal, after Zuckerberg offered to send a subordinate in his place.

European laws protect consumers than very annoyed Facebook.

This week, Facebook will begin asking users for permission to use their personal data, the first official move by the social network ahead of the GDPR compliance deadline set for May 25, Facebook said in a Tuesday night blog post.

The change by Facebook affects more than 70 percent of its more than 2 billion users.

A little background: the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) act going into effect in May is perhaps the most comprehensive policy change to online privacy laws so far.

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It has 239 million users in the United States and Canada, 370 million in Europe and 1.52 billion elsewhere.

When Facebook set up its worldwide headquarters in Ireland in 2008 to take advantage of low corporate tax rates, users outside the USA and Canada came under the protection of European regulators.

Facebook has not yet returned a request for comment about the changes to its terms of service, but it told Reuters: "We apply the same privacy protections everywhere, regardless of whether your agreement is with Facebook Inc or Facebook Ireland".

The privacy law is the latest attempt by European Union regulators to rein in mostly American tech giants who they blame for avoiding tax, stifling competition and encroaching on digital privacy rights.

In practice, the change means the 1.5 billion affected users will not be able to file complaints with Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner or in Irish courts.

Facebook's ad revenue per user varies, but is highest in the US & Canada, where each user delivers the social network $82.44 a year, so the average US or Canadian user would need to pay an average $7 a month to use the platform, per TechCrunch analysis.

Facebook released a revised terms of service in draft form two weeks ago, and they are scheduled to take effect next month.