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Social media firm Meta will allow users to unlink their Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Gaming, Marketplace, and Messenger accounts ahead of the EU’s incoming Digital Markets Act.
January 23, 2024
The changes will apply to the EU, EEA and Switzerland in order to make the firm compliant with the DMA which will come into force in March. It will essentially mean users can use its suite of social media platforms and opt to have them not share data between each other.
Changes include the ability to manage Instagram and Facebook accounts separately, which at present have to be linked. Messenger can also be untethered from a main Facebook account, as can Marketplace and Facebook Gaming.
The announcement also takes the opportunity to reiterate a change it made to its advertising policy late last year. Users can doom-scroll on Instagram and Facebook for free with ads, or subscribe to version without ads for €9.99 a month on the web or €12.99 a month on iOS and Android.
Meta was named as one of the big tech firms the DMA has in its sites last year, which it calls gatekeepers. There are a lot of facets to it, but broadly the EU defines the mission of the legislation as ‘preventing gatekeepers from imposing unfair conditions on businesses and end users and at ensuring the openness of important digital services.’
And it’s not just rhetoric, failure to comply the Digital Markets Act apparently means the commission can impose fines of up to 10% of total worldwide turnover, which can jump up to 20% ‘in case of repeated infringement.’
In case of ‘systematic infringements’, the Commission is also empowered to adopt ‘additional remedies’ such as obliging the firms to sell a business or parts of it, or banning it from acquisitions of additional services.
Whether the situation occurs in which such extreme ‘remedies’ are ever seriously considered remains to be seen, though of course they would not be easy things to execute. Meta for its part seems keen to press the point it is going out of its way to comply, if the announcement today is anything to go by:
“The DMA seeks to promote contestability and fairness in digital markets – an ambition that Meta supports. We are committed to continue working hard to ensure that Meta’s products in the EU comply with the DMA and deliver value to people – we have assembled a large cross-functional team staffed by senior employees from around the globe and across our entire family of apps to achieve that.”
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