We’re Fine Without Facebook, German and French Ministers Say

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By William Horobin and Zoe Schneeweiss
February 7, 2022, 10: 58 AM CST

Meta Platforms Inc.’s veiled threat to quit Europe because of blocked talks over privacy rules was more like music to the ears of two top German and French politicians.

“After being hacked I’ve lived without Facebook and Twitter for four years and life has been fantastic,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck told reporters at an event alongside French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire in Paris on Monday.

“I can confirm that life is very good without Facebook and that we would live very well without Facebook,” Le Maire added. “Digital giants must understand that the European continent will resist and affirm its sovereignty.”

The pair were responding to comments in Meta’s annual report published Thursday, warning that if it couldn’t rely on new or existing agreements to shift data, then it would “likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe.”

The European Union “is such a big internal market with so much economic power that if we act in unity we won’t be intimidated by something like this,” Habeck said.

Meanwhile Le Maire listed ways in which European governments have challenged tech giants, including with privacy rules, taxation and blocking the development of digital currencies.

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