As the European Union’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA) competition regulations prepare to take effect in March, Meta (formerly Facebook) has revealed some of the changes it plans to make to its services to comply with the rules. The DMA aims to rein in the power of Big Tech firms like Meta by enforcing fairer practices and limiting how they can use customer data.
Meta published a blog post outlining the new controls it will soon offer users in the EU over how their data can be shared and used across its platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Marketplace. These include:
- Letting users prevent Meta from combining data on their Facebook and Instagram usage
- Giving Facebook Messenger users the option to separate their messaging data from their Facebook data (with some limitations)
- Allowing Marketplace users to disconnect their activity from their Facebook profile (but removing Messenger functionality)
- Providing gamers on Facebook Gaming a way to opt out of data sharing, but with reduced features
The moves appear designed to meet DMA requirements around user consent for data sharing, though some limitations Meta has imposed on functionality may draw regulatory scrutiny.
- Meta classified as DMA “gatekeeper”; must comply with fair competition rules
- New controls will let EU users limit Meta’s cross-site tracking and data combining
- But some limitations on features may manipulate users or hinder easy opt-outs
- Compliance efforts could aid Meta but may not satisfy regulators under consent laws
- Fines for violations high at up to 10% of global annual turnover
While Meta seems to be making an effort to adhere to the DMA ahead of the March deadline, privacy advocates and regulators will likely examine whether the consent choices presented are really compliant with EU laws or still overly weighted to encourage data sharing. If deemed insufficient or deceptive, Meta could face hefty fines upwards of 10% of global revenue.
The coming weeks will be telling as to whether these changes truly empower EU users with control over their data or mostly serve to benefit Meta’s profiling abilities across its empire of platforms. Strict enforcement of the landmark DMA will be key to determining if it can successfully counter the dominance and data strategies of Big Tech gatekeepers.