Meta and Apple face major antitrust charges in Europe


The European Commission is reportedly gearing up to make Meta and Apple the first targets of its new antitrust powers, based on the Digital Markets Act that took effect a few months ago.

Reuters reported that the two tech giants will face charges for non-compliance with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) before the summer breaks, adding that this development marks a significant move by EU regulators to curb the power of major tech giants.

The EU’s investigation into Apple focuses on its steering rules, which allegedly restrict app developers from informing users about external offers and impose new fees on developers. Additionally, another investigation regarding Apple’s choice screen for its Safari web browser is expected to take longer to conclude.

Meta’s preliminary finding centers on its recent “pay or consent” model, where users must either pay a subscription fee for an ad-free experience on Facebook and Instagram or consent to data tracking for targeted ads.

The European Commission initiated investigations into Apple, Meta, and Alphabet’s Google in March under the DMA, which aims to create a more competitive digital market.

The DMA mandates that large tech companies provide opportunities for smaller rivals and facilitate easier transitions between competing online services, including social media platforms, internet browsers, and app stores.

EU regulators plan to release preliminary findings, akin to antitrust charges, before August. Apple is expected to be the first to face charges, followed by Meta, sources indicated.

The Commission and Meta have declined to comment on the matter, while Apple referred to its March statement, expressing confidence that its plans comply with the DMA and its ongoing engagement with the Commission.

These preliminary findings will outline the Commission’s concerns, giving companies an opportunity to address them before a final decision. This decision is anticipated before EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s term ends in November. Non-compliance with the DMA could result in fines up to 10% of a company’s global annual turnover.

Meanwhile, Meta is already mad at European tech regulators because they were ordered to pause the rollout of Meta AI in Europe, at the request of Ireland’s privacy regulator, after privacy advocates loudly complained that Meta can’t train its AI on the personal data of European Facebook and Instagram users without their consent.

Meta is now being forced to seek the consent of each of the millions of users on its five platforms in Europe, and that is something it is not taking kindly.


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