Facebook users in Europe could end up waiting longer for new features or even miss out on them entirely if privacy regulators keep putting pressure on the social network.
That’s the explicit threat in an opinion piece from the company’s European Vice President of Public Policy Richard Allen.
Writing in the Financial Times today, he says:
For internet companies…national regulation would pose serious obstacles. Facebook’s costs would increase, and people in Europe would notice new features arriving more slowly, or not at all.
The op-ed is the latest move in Facebook’s high profile campaign against attempts by EU regulators to force it to submit to scrutiny in individual countries, rather than being overseen by Ireland’s data protection authorities alone.
The company faces a series of privacy probes across the continent, with regulators from France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium all opening investigations.
Allen uses an automotive analogy to attack the notion of national regulation:
If a car made in France or Germany had to meet separate technical requirements in Poland or Spain, Europe’s car manufacturers would face serious handicaps. BMW, Jaguar and Renault might not be the international success stories that they are.
Facebook is definitely hoping the wheels fall off the EU’s efforts and it’s willing to harness user dissatisfaction to achieve that.
➤ European disintegration threatens business on the internet [Financial Times]