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Facebook moves to exempt 1.5 billion users from new EU protections

Facebook moves to exempt 1.5 billion users from new EU protections
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Facebook is moving to exempt 1.5 billion users in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America from its terms of service as dictated under a new European Union regulation, according to a Reuters report.

The move comes weeks before the E.U.'s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is set to take effect. The rule addresses the protection of personal data shared outside the E.U.

By exempting so many of its members from the new regulation, Facebook would limit its liability under the new rule, which allows for fines of up to 4 percent of a company's global annual revenue for violations. 

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For Facebook, that could mean billions of dollars in potential fines, according to Reuters.

According to Reuters, the exemption would affect more than 70 percent of Facebook users worldwide. As of December, the social media platform had 239 million members in the U.S. and Canada, 370 million in Europe and 1.52 billion users in other parts of the world.

Facebook is subject to the regulations, because it keeps its international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. A number of large tech companies have established subsidiaries in Ireland because of its low corporate tax rate.

Facebook has come under scrutiny in recent weeks, after it was revealed that the consulting firm Cambridge Analytica accessed the data of millions of Facebook users without their consent. That revelation has sparked debate over how Facebook handles its members' personal data.