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Time to panic over Meta/Facebook pulling out of Europe?

Those rumours on Facebook, are they true? What does it mean for your small business?

Here at the BWN, our INsiders benefit from some top experts on business. Here Insider Robyn Banks (Yes really her name) shares advice on the latest rumours on Facebook/Meta pulling out of Europe and what you need to know as a business owner.

Robyn Banks owns Adavista, a company specialising in ensuring you get the law right around data protection and freedom of information. The cost to small businesses of getting this wrong can be fines starting from £400. Every business (with few exceptions despite what you might read on social media) needs to be registered for example with the ICO. Not sure on what you are doing? On our confidential mastermind and networking group, you can ask Robyn anything and you get a discount to work with Robyn too. Not an Insider yet? Join here.

You may have seen lots of articles, even through Facebook, about Meta (Facebook’s parent company) pulling out of Europe.  As an expert in this industry here’s my thoughts on this;

Why would they?  This market is worth a lot of money to them.  There have also posted about Mark Zuckerberg losing a lot of money because people are turning away from Facebook.  May be this is a marketing ploy?

 Why are they “considering “if the market is worth a lot of money? 

Well, this has historical roots! Facebook – as well as Google – have fallen foul of many Information Commissioners across Europe over the years that has resulted in a lot of money in fines! They thought that, as big conglomerates, they could just walk over individuals and their privacy rights!  But you should remember that Facebook was never intended to be a “private” medium.. it was supposed to be a digital place to meet people and connect with others – you can’t do that if its only “closed” groups or private!

In an attempt to get round the data protection/privacy rules, Facebook originally set up its storage facility in the Republic of Ireland – ie in the EU.  But the “rules” state that, as a US company, they must abide by EU law in an EU country.  So when they kept getting huge fines, they moved everything to California.

California is one of the few US States to have a form of data protection legislation, but federally, the US does NOT have data protection legislation to protect the rights of individuals.  This is why the “EU/US Privacy Shield” was put in place – an agreement with the US Department of Commerce to protect our rights when dealing with US based companies.  This agreement was designated “illegal” and not-fit-for-purpose by the European courts in 2020. BUT if the US entity was not governed by the US Department of Commerce  – and many are not! – then it didn’t apply anyway!   This meant that the US organisation have to have an Agreement in place with the country concerned using the “Standard Contractual Clauses” drawn up by the EU authorities.  This is still the case and there are new Clauses just issued.

All this still applies to the UK after Brexit because our data protection rules have not changed in concept from the EU rules.  In fact they have drawn up an “Adequacy Decision” between UK and EU countries because we have the same level of protection on individuals’ rights and freedoms. 

What’s next?   – well, its simple!  Facebook/Meta just need to obey the rules!  They can draw up new agreements with European companies they market to (for adverts etc which is how they make their money) using the new Clauses. They need to think about data storage and the individual’s right to delete data. 

And perhaps they should think about employing me??!

The important thing to remember that you don’t need to panic, as an Insider I will always ensure you are up to date on the law and any changes that you may need to make. Not sure if you’ve got it right? I’m happy to have a chat either on the confidential mastermind group or via my website.

  • February 10, 2022

Data Protection Shocker!

We caused an Insiders hot post. All we asked was “Can we check you have all registered with the ICO?”

When the data protection laws were updated in May 2018 we spent many many months in the lead up to this ensuring everyone attending our events or reading our blogs were aware that it was highly unlikely they had a business that would be exempt and would have to take action.

We even ran an update masterclass session in late 2019 with Adavista who deliver our data protection policies and advice to check everyone knew how to process data and how it is good for business when you get it right, not forgetting how costly it is if you get it wrong!

Did you know for instance not being registered with ICO could cost you a £400 instant fine?

So we were a little surprised when we discovered that business owners were still not registered. We work closely with Robyn Banks to ensure we help you access the best quality advice neccesary to be compliant. Here Robyn Shares a few key points to get you started. And even if you answer no, I’ve not done that! to every single point, don’t panic, we are here to help. Post to the Insiders and Robyn (who is also an Insider) will help. Our Insiders have all experienced so much in business so they will have advice on what to do too. (Not just someone random on Facebook who heard it at networking event once!)

Here are a few key points to consider;

  1. The ICO fee is not the only part of data protection compliance – have you considered other documentation?”
  2. Are your emails compliant with e-privacy regulations?
  3. What about a Privacy Notice?  Do you know for sure yours has the correct info in it?”
  4. How long and technical is our Privacy Notice?  Legal jargon should NOT be there!”
  5. If the Privacy Notice is longer than a side and half of A4 – is anyone going to read it?”
  6. The more detail you put into a Privacy Notice, the more loopholes you are creating for exploitation – that doesn’t protect your business!”
  7. Is your use of data documented appropriately?  Does int include all the concepts it should?”

Everything covered here in these data protection/GDPR tips is legal requirement – At BWN we don’t want you to get caught out!  Robyn Banks doesn’t either  – which is why she is an Affiliate and offers a discount to BWN on her already low fees.

How long does it take to get legal?

For our own policies and registration it took us 1.5 hours to become compliant! We had a conversation with Robyn who wanted to know how we process information and where we store your data. Then Robyn went off and wrote tailor made documentation for our business. And then we updated our website and email accordingly.


And not worth the risk of  thousands of £s in fines – £400 is only for not paying the fee and the tip of the iceberg in terms of non-compliance.!

To join the Insiders click here. You can ask Robyn anything. Robyn is a very active Insiders member and keen to help all businesses be legal when it comes to data protection. If you missed her interview on BWN TV – with a mention of helping to land a British Airways plane in Russia at the age of 21! You can watch that here.

  • June 30, 2020