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EU set to charge Meta over ‘pay or consent

The European Union is set to charge Facebook parent Meta with breaking the bloc’s landmark digital rules, the Financial Times reported on Monday, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter.

In preliminary findings to be issued this week, regulators will say that they are worried about Meta’s “pay or consent” model, according to the report.

Meta launched the no-ads subscription service for Facebook and Instagram in Europe last November, saying users who consent to be tracked get a free service which is funded by advertising revenues or pay not to have their data shared.

The regulators are expected to say that the choice presented by Meta risks giving users a false alternative, with the financial barrier forcing them to consent to their personal data being tracked for advertising purposes.

Meta and the European Commission did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

The report comes after EU antitrust regulators last week charged that Apple breached the bloc’s tech rules, a decision that could result in a hefty fine for the iPhone maker, which is also facing another investigation into new fees imposed on app developers.

The charge brought against Apple is the first by the Commission under its landmark Digital Markets Act (DMA) that seeks to rein in the power of ‘Big Tech’ firms and ensure a level playing field for smaller rivals.

DMA violations could result in a fine of as much as 10% of a company’s global annual turnover. Reuters

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