Meta Allows EU Users To Avoid Cross-Platform Tracking On Facebook, Instagram

Over the next few weeks, people using Meta's family of social-media apps in the European Union will be offered an option to block the tech giant from combining their personal data from their Facebook and Instagram accounts, among other Meta-led services.

The change comes in response to the EU's upcoming Digital Markets Act (DMA), the company said in a blog post.

The DMA, which goes into effect in March, was created on the basis of enforcing consumer-friendly competition by preventing businesses from imposing unfair conditions on its customers.

The legislation allows regulators to designate major companies as “gatekeepers.”

Meta was labeled a “gatekeeper” in September, alongside five other tech giants including Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and TikTok.

The term also applies to specific services provided by the companies. For Meta, this includes Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Marketplace, and its advertising delivery system.



The DMA's focus is partly based on the fact that gatekeepers cannot combine user data between their platforms' core services or with personal data supplied by third parties unless the company offers its users an obvious choice to obtain their consent.

Therefore, Meta's compliance will have several notable outcomes across its family of apps.

Most importantly, Instagram and Facebook users in the EU will now be able to use these apps with stand-alone accounts. Unlinking accounts will affect the ways in which they are targeted by advertisers and how their content recommendations are personalized.

In addition, people will be able to choose to use Meta's Facebook Messenger service without a Facebook account, making it much harder for advertisers to target them. Users will also be able to unlink their accounts from Facebook's Marketplace and Gaming services, which Meta pointed out will result in a lack of functionality.

“People who choose not to use their Facebook information for their Marketplace experience will still be able to browse listings and to buy and sell items,” the company notes in its blog post, adding that “communication between buyers and sellers will be via email instead of Facebook Messenger.”

As for Gaming, users who choose to withhold their Facebook information will lose access to multiplayer gameplay, in-game purchases, and personalized game suggestions, leaving them with “some single-player games.”

Meta's announcement follows its decision in November to introduce an ad-free paid subscription option for Facebook and Instagram users in the EU who don't want to be tracked.

However, it is still unclear as to whether data-protection regulators in the EU will accept the change to its ad model or if it violates the incoming privacy laws.

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