Facebook is moving UK users onto US terms and conditions - here’s what it means for you

Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 10:49 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 10:49 am

Facebook is set to switch all UK account holders for the social media network onto user agreements with the firm’s corporate headquarters in California, steering them away from European Union (EU) privacy laws.

Facebook has said that the move will not change the privacy controls of UK users, or the services they are offered.

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Changes after Brexit

UK users are currently governed by agreements with Facebook’s headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, but the legal relationship will change after the Brexit transition period comes to an end at the end of this year.

The tech giant told Reuters, “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.”

Facebook Inc already has legal responsibility for other users from countries outside of the EU.

Facebook’s UK users will remain subject to UK laws.

The UK is currently protected by Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), with the Information Commissioner saying earlier this year that GDPR will be replaced by a similar “UK GDPR.”

Facebook said that users will continue to remain subject to UK GDPR, and that there will be no change to the privacy controls. The way in which Facebook collects and processes data and how it responds to law enforcement requests for people’s information will not change.

According to those familiar with the company, Facebook is making the move partly because the EU privacy regime is among one of the strictest in the world.

The changes will come into effect in 2021, with users to be notified by an update to Facebook’s terms of service in the first half of the year.

Facebook’s change follows a similar move announced by Google in February of this year. However, a Twitter spokesman said UK users of that social media platform will continue to be handled by the company’s Dublin office.