Meta’s subscriptions in violation of DMA

'Pay or okay' model illegal

Meta’s subscriptions in violation of DMA

The European Commission will share with Meta today that its subscriptions are a violation of the Digital Markets Act. Users should be given the option not to see personalized ads without payment.

“Our preliminary view is that Meta’s ‘Pay or Consent’ business model violates the DMA,” said Thierry Breton, euro commissioner for the Internal Market. A subscription makes Meta’s social media platforms ad-free. Users who do not pay receive ads based on personal information. According to the Digital Markets Act, however, users must be given the choice not to see personalized ads. The European Commission does not share the opinion with Meta that the model is a choice. Meta thus violates Article 5.2 in the section that prohibits the combination of personal data.

Free alternative needed

One possibility is for Meta to add a third option, in which users get ads based on contextualized data. Other options are also available, and the commission stresses that it is up to Meta to choose which changes are made.

Today, Meta received the initial findings of the investigation into violations under the Digital Markets Act. This document does not offer any solutions. Meta also now has the right to reply, which gives the company a chance to explain why the current subscriptions are the best solution for its own situation.

The full study must be completed by March 2025, by which time the year in which the study may take place is over. This is not about a date by which Meta’s model must be in compliance with the DMA; that date passed the moment the legislation took action.

DSA: different law, different rules

The Digital Services Act may still ban personalized ads in the future. These rules do impose restrictions on personalized ads. However, this will require further research.

Also read: Big Tech tries to make developers and users pay for DMA costs