Meta to allow (some) Europeans to unlink their accounts to comply with EU regulations
In a move aimed at complying with the upcoming Digital Markets Act (DMA) regulations, Meta announced it will give some European users more control over how their data is shared across its platforms, including Instagram and Facebook. However, the question remains: will users outside these regions get the same level of autonomy? Probably not. But let us dive into it.
Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram DMs began the merger way back in 2020. In the meantime, Meta also linked your Instagram and Facebook profiles and pages, business and personal, under one roof. It allows cross-posting, controlling your accounts from one place, and whatnot. I personally hate it, but Meta will apparently now disable this – at least for some users.
The DMA, set to come into force in March 2024, aims to promote fair competition in digital markets and curb the dominance of large tech companies. Meta’s new features, outlined in a recent blog post, seem to directly address the DMA’s requirements by offering users more granular control over their data:
- Unlinking Instagram and Facebook accounts: You can choose to keep your accounts linked for cross-platform benefits or manage them separately, preventing data sharing between the platforms.
- Independent Facebook Messenger: You can opt for a standalone Messenger account without linking it to your Facebook profile.
- Choice in Marketplace and Gaming: You can choose whether to share your Facebook information for personalized experiences in Marketplace and Gaming or opt for a non-personalized experience. However, this will come with some limitations, as Meta states on its blog.
- Opt-out of ad personalization: Last but not least, the latest changes allow you to pay a subscription fee to use Facebook and Instagram without ad personalization, a (pricy) feature already available since November 2023.
Who gets to see these changes?
The changes apply to countries in the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland (which belongs to neither). All 27 EU countries are also EEA countries, but Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway are in the EEA, but not in the EU.
To make things easier, here’s the list of countries that will see these changes:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Wait… What about other European countries?
While these options offer some transparency and control for EEA + Switzerland users, the lack of mention of a global rollout raises concerns about users in non-EU countries. Meta’s blog post heavily emphasizes compliance with the DMA, suggesting these features may be specifically tailored to meet European regulations.
Furthermore, the announcement doesn’t mention these choices being rolled out to all users globally or European users outside the EU, EEA, or Switzerland. Finally, it details specific benefits for EU users who choose to unlink accounts, like email communication for Marketplace instead of Messenger. This further suggests a regional focus.
In other words, it appears that users in non-EU and non-EEA countries won’t have this kind of control over their Meta accounts. This includes countries like Russia, Ukraine, the UK, and Serbia, where I (unfortunately) live.
While Meta offers some privacy tools for all users globally, regardless of location, this new level of granular control and choice will likely remain specific to the users from the 31 countries mentioned above.
And what about the rest of the world? Meta hasn’t clarified whether these enhanced privacy features will ever be extended to users outside the EU, EEA, and Switzerland, in Europe or beyond. But for those living in these countries, the DMA regulation comes into effect in March 2024, so you can probably expect the new Meta features to be released around that time as well.
[via The Verge]
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.