The EU Accuses Meta of Violating Antitrust Rules

Facebook’s parent company, Meta, is facing scrutiny from EU regulators for allegedly failing to comply with the bloc’s antitrust regulations regarding its ad-supported social networking service. The Commission has raised concerns about Meta’s “pay or consent” model, which forces users to choose between paying for an ad-free experience or consenting to their data being used for targeted advertising. This article delves deeper into the accusations and implications for Meta.

According to the European Commission, Meta’s ad-supported subscription option fails to provide users with a choice to access a less personalized version of the platform while still enjoying the same features. The regulators argue that users should be entitled to an equivalent service that uses less personal data for targeted advertisements. Additionally, the Commission has criticized Meta for not allowing users to freely consent to the use of their personal data for online ads.

In response to the allegations, a Meta spokesperson stated that the company’s ad-supported subscription model aligns with the European Court of Justice’s ruling and complies with the Digital Markets Act (DMA). Meta introduced this new model as a way to offer an alternative version of its services that do not rely on extensive data collection for advertising purposes. The company has expressed its willingness to engage in constructive dialogue with the European Commission to resolve the investigation.

Implications of Non-Compliance

The Digital Markets Act, which came into effect in March, aims to address anti-competitive practices by large digital companies and compel them to open up their services to competitors. Companies found in violation of the DMA could face substantial fines, amounting to 10% or even 20% of their global annual revenue for repeated breaches. In Meta’s case, a potential penalty of up to $13.4 billion looms if the company is found to have breached the regulations.

As Meta navigates the investigation initiated by the European Commission, the company must address the allegations of non-compliance with antitrust rules. The outcome of this case could have far-reaching implications for Meta’s operations in Europe and set a precedent for regulating digital platforms’ data collection practices. Stay tuned for further developments as Meta defends its position in writing, leading up to the conclusion of the Commission’s investigation within the next 12 months.


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