Meta's "Pay or Consent" Model Faces EU Scrutiny

Meta's "Pay or Consent" Model Faces EU Scrutiny

Marina Petrović
2 min read

The European Commission has determined that Meta's "pay or consent" model for Facebook and Instagram users in Europe does not comply with the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA). The model gives users a binary choice: agree to data tracking for targeted ads or pay for an ad-free version. However, the Commission's preliminary findings indicate that this approach forces users into consenting to data tracking without offering an equivalent free service.

The DMA's aim is to regulate how dominant tech companies handle user data to level the competitive playing field. Meta's dominance in social networking gives it an unfair advantage in advertising by collecting extensive user data. The EU's investigation into Meta was initiated following complaints from privacy and consumer protection groups and aims to hold Meta accountable for compliance with user consent for data tracking.

Meta has the opportunity to respond to the findings, but the EU plans to conclude its investigation by March 2025. The European consumer organization, BEUC, supports the Commission's actions and urges Meta to comply with consumer protection laws. The outcome of this investigation could significantly impact Meta's operations in Europe, potentially forcing it to modify its privacy-invasive business model.

Key Takeaways

  • Meta's "pay or consent" model is under EU scrutiny for non-compliance with the Digital Markets Act.
  • EU investigation finds Meta forces users into consenting to data tracking or paying for ad-free access.
  • Potential penalties for Meta could reach up to 10% of its global annual turnover for DMA breaches.
  • Meta has 12 months to respond and comply with the EU's investigation findings.


Meta's non-compliance with the EU's Digital Markets Act exposes the company to potential fines and operational changes, as it undermines user privacy and competitive fairness. This may lead to short-term regulatory scrutiny and potential fines, and in the long-term, could result in significant changes to Meta's business model and influence global data privacy standards and competitor strategies.

Did You Know?

  • Digital Markets Act (DMA): A regulation introduced by the European Union to ensure fair competition within the digital sector, targeting large online platforms, known as "gatekeepers," that have significant market power.
  • Meta's "pay or consent" model: Meta's approach of offering users a choice between consenting to data tracking for targeted advertising or paying for an ad-free version of the service.
  • Gatekeepers under the DMA: Large tech companies that control a gateway between businesses and consumers and are subject to stricter regulations under the DMA. Meta, due to its dominance in social networking, is considered a gatekeeper and is therefore subject to these stringent regulations.

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