Meta has unveiled significant changes for users in the European Union (EU), European Economic Area and Switzerland, allowing them to unlink their Instagram and Facebook accounts ahead of the implementation of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in March.
This move aligns with the DMA's regulatory framework, with notifications about these changes set to appear in the coming weeks.
Under these adjustments, EU users will gain the flexibility to utilize various Meta services without having to cross-share their information between platforms.
Notably, Facebook Messenger can now function as an independent service without requiring a linked Facebook account. Users who previously linked their Facebook and Instagram accounts will also have the option to unlink them.
While these changes extend to services like Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Gaming, Meta has highlighted that unlinking accounts between platforms may affect their functionality.
For instance, users opting to use Marketplace without their Facebook information will need to communicate with buyers and sellers through email rather than Messenger.
Similarly, those disconnecting their Facebook accounts on Gaming will find themselves limited to single-player games.
This announcement follows a similar stance made by Google earlier this month, wherein the company permitted users to halt the sharing of data between services like Search, YouTube, Google Maps and Chrome.
Both Meta and Google's parent company, Alphabet, were identified as "gatekeepers" by the European Commission last September.
What Is the Goal of the DMA?
The DMA, which is scheduled to take full effect on March 6, not only dictates how gatekeepers share data between services, but also introduces a range of rules aimed at fostering competition and providing a level playing field for businesses reliant on gatekeepers.
In addition to the changes highlighted by Meta, the DMA ensures proper functionality between messaging services, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It also requires Apple to open up iOS to sideloading.
"The DMA seeks to promote contestability and fairness in digital markets – an ambition that Meta supports. We are committed to continue working hard to ensure that Meta’s products in the EU comply with the DMA and deliver value to people – we have assembled a large cross-functional team staffed by senior employees from around the globe and across our entire family of apps to achieve that," the tech giant concluded in a statement.
Meta's recent update follows their decision in early December to discontinue cross-service messaging between Instagram and Facebook users globally.
While the company did not attribute this modification to the DMA, it aligns with the broader regulatory changes within the EU.
Editing by Katherine 'Makkie' Maclang