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  • Parv Jain

Has Meta Breached EU Laws with Their Ad Service?

Meta Accused For Breaking EU Rules

Meta Faces EU Charges Over Ad-Supported Services

On Monday, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, was accused by European Union (EU) regulators of not following the EU's new antitrust rules. These rules are designed to ensure fair competition among big tech companies.

What's the Issue?

Meta recently introduced a new service in Europe where users can either pay to use Facebook and Instagram without ads or agree to have their data used for personalized ads. The EU Commission calls this a “pay or consent” model and believes it forces users to give up their data if they don’t want to pay for the service.

EU's Concerns

The EU Commission stated two main problems with Meta's new service:

  1. Users don’t have the option to use the service with less personal data being collected while still getting an equivalent experience.

  2. Users can’t freely choose whether they want their data to be used for personalized ads.

Meta's Response

Meta says its new model complies with a decision by the European Court of Justice, which allowed companies to offer a service that doesn’t rely on data collection for ads. Meta is willing to discuss the issue further with the European Commission to resolve the matter.

Potential Fines

If found guilty of breaking the rules, Meta could face hefty fines. The EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA), which became enforceable in March 2024, aims to prevent anti-competitive practices by big tech companies. Companies violating the DMA could be fined up to 10% of their global annual revenue, and up to 20% for repeated offenses. For Meta, this could mean a fine of up to $13.4 billion based on its 2023 earnings.

Next Steps

Meta has received the EU's preliminary findings and now has the opportunity to defend itself in writing. The investigation, which also includes probes into tech giants Apple and Alphabet, will conclude within 12 months.

This situation highlights the ongoing tension between big tech companies and regulators trying to protect consumer rights and ensure fair competition.

Key Points

  • The accusation by EU Regulators: Meta is accused of not complying with the EU's new antitrust rules regarding its ad-supported services on Facebook and Instagram.

  • EU's Concerns: The EU believes Meta's service forces users to either pay to avoid ads or consent to their data being used for personalized ads, without offering an equivalent service that uses less personal data.

  • Potential Fines: If found in violation of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), Meta could face fines up to 10% of its global annual revenue, potentially amounting to $13.4 billion.


Q1. What is Meta's new ad service model?

Meta's new ad service model requires users to either pay for an ad-free experience on Facebook and Instagram or consent to having their data used for personalized ads.

Q2. Why is the EU concerned about Meta's ad service?

The EU is concerned that Meta's ad service forces users into a "pay or consent" choice, which doesn't offer an equivalent service that uses less personal data.

Q3. What does the "pay or consent" model mean in Meta's ad service?

The "pay or consent" model in Meta's ad service means users must either pay to avoid ads or agree to let Meta use their data for targeted advertising.

Q4. What is the Digital Markets Act (DMA) about Meta's ad service?

The DMA is an EU regulation aimed at preventing anti-competitive practices by big tech companies, including rules that Meta's ad service must follow.


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