And according to For Facebook, the reason some features in Messenger and Instagram are not available in Europe is due to compliance with the Online Privacy Directive.
However, at the same time, it also indicates that this new law may put users at greater risk because the social media company will not be able to report harmful content and activity.
The Electronic Privacy Directive prohibits companies from saving and processing the metadata that comes with the actual content of the messages.
This applies not only to the likes of SMS and e-mail, but to messaging systems, such as instant messaging.
Facebook has temporarily discontinued some Messenger and Instagram features in Europe because it wants to comply with the directive.
Even users outside of the region who try to use these features when speaking with someone in the European Union will not be able to do so.
Facebook says: It has prioritized returning basic features, such as text messages and video calls, to services, but some, such as polls, may take some time because they inherently require the use of metadata.
In order to comply with the law, Facebook needed to modify the way its services operate, such as separating messaging data from other parts of its infrastructure.
However, the social media giant points to the more serious consequences of directing online privacy that go beyond the inability to conduct polls via chat.
Facebook claims that the directive impedes its messaging services’ ability to detect and respond to harmful content and activities, such as: child abuse and illegal material.
This means that Facebook is blaming the European Commission if such incidents start to spike in the region.
There may be a lot of discussion about the validity of Facebook’s claims, in addition to its ability to develop some other means to prevent such harmful use of its services.
However, it cannot be argued that the social network also uses this type of metadata for other purposes that benefit the company itself in order to make a profit.
Facebook said: We look forward to working with European policymakers to achieve privacy and security, and we hope initiatives such as Project Protect can provide a common approach that protects privacy and keeps people safe online.