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, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter.

In preliminary findings to be issued this week, regulators may 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. The company said that users who consent to being tracked get a free service that is funded by advertising revenues or pay not to have their data shared.

According to the FT report, regulators are expected to say that Meta’s proposal risks giving users a false alternative, with the financial barrier forcing them to consent to having their personal data 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. This decision 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 up to 10% of a company's global annual turnover.