Meta the next to be fined for breaching DMA

  • The European Commission has confirmed that Meta has breached the Digital Markets Act (DMA).
  • It specifically cites the “consent or pay” model employed on the platforms that Meta owns.
  • The Commission is currently investigating Apple, and looked to fine Google shortly after the DMA came into law.

The European Commission is seemingly taking no prisoners when it comes to technology companies that it says has breached the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Last week it announced that Apple was being investigated over its App Store policies in the region, and now Meta has been named as the next company in its sights.

To that end, the Commission says that Meta is in breach of the DMA regarding its “consent or pay” policies, which gives the platforms under the Meta umbrella free access to users in exchange for data collection. Should users not wish to have their data collected, they will need to pay for it.

“In the Commission’s preliminary view, this binary choice forces users to consent to the combination of their personal data and fails to provide them a less personalised but equivalent version of Meta’s social networks,” it explained in a press release.

“Due to their significant position in digital markets, gatekeepers have been able to impose terms of services on their large user base allowing them to collect vast amounts of personal data.  This has given them potential advantages compared to competitors who do not have access to such a vast amount of data, thereby raising high barriers to providing online advertising services and social network services,” it added regarding the antitrust behaviour of some platforms in the EU.

At the time of writing, it remains to be seen what kind of potential fine Meta would have to pay. It is also unclear how the company will tackle the allegations, as well as if it would be legally compelled to change its policy in the region should it wish to continue to operate or collect data.

The company, which counts Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp as platforms it owns, has issued somewhat of a response

“Subscription for no ads follows the direction of the highest court in Europe and complies with the DMA. We look forward to further constructive dialogue with the European Commission to bring this investigation to a close,” it told Engadget in a statement.

Either way it will be interesting to see what result the dialogue leads to, especially as the European Commission is focusing much of its efforts on companies that have breached the DMA.

[Image – Photo by Dima Solomin on Unsplash]


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