Facebook moves nearly 1.5bn accounts out of European HQ
Facebook is risking yet another privacy backlash after reports that it is moving the accounts of nearly 1.5 billion users out of its Irish HQ to its US headquarters, meaning that they will not longer be covered by GDPR.
Facebook set up its international headquarters in Ireland in 2008 to take advantage of the country's low corporate tax rates but it also meant all users outside the US, Canada and Europe were protected by European regulations.
While the changes do not affect Facebook's 239 million users in North America and 370 million in Europe, members based in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America will no longer be protected under the new privacy laws coming into force in May.
The change will affect over 70% of its two billion-plus user base.
However, the company refuted suggestions that the move was designed to swerve the new regulation.
Facebook deputy chief global privacy officer Stephen Deadman said: "The GDPR and EU consumer law set out specific rules for terms and data policies which we have incorporated for EU users.
"We have been clear that we are offering everyone who uses Facebook the same privacy protections, controls and settings, no matter where they live."
Earlier this month, Facebook admitted that the Cambridge Analytica data scandal had actually affected way more people than first revealed, with up to 87 million consumers – including over a million Brits – now thought to have had their information exploited.