A new feature Meta is reportedly working on takes advantage of the EU Digital Markets Act to let users download apps through Facebook ads.
Meta is reportedly planning to pilot a new type of ad that will let people in the EU download apps directly through the Facebook app, competing with the Google and Apple app stores.
The company will work with a handful of Android app developers to start the pilot later this year, according to a report by The Verge.
Facebook is taking advantage of the EU Digital Markets Act expected to take effect early next year, which attempts to reign in the power of ‘gatekeeping’ Big Tech companies such as Apple and Google by requiring them to open up their platforms to allow other types of downloads.
Passed by the EU parliament a year ago, the Digital Markets Act aims to crack down on anti-competitive behaviour by Big Tech and level the playing field in digital markets.
It will blacklist certain practices used by large platforms – companies that wield a disproportionate amount of power in their markets – and enable the European Commission to carry out market investigations and sanction non-compliant behaviours.
Under the new law, companies that are marked as gatekeepers will have to allow third parties to interoperate with their own services, in order to give users greater choice and prevent them from being restricted to key apps or platforms.
So-called gatekeepers will no longer be able to rank their own services or products more favourably than third-party equivalents, prevent users from using third-party apps or process users’ personal data outside of their own platforms for the purposes of targeted advertising (unless consent is explicitly granted).
The Verge also learned that Meta does not plan to take a cut of in-app revenue from participating apps initially, meaning developers in the pilot could still use whatever system of billing they want.
Meta spokesperson Tom Channick told the outlet that the company wants to help developers “distribute their apps” and that the new options would add more competition in this space. “Developers deserve more ways to easily get their apps to the people that want them,” he said.
Earlier this week, Meta also announced new parental control tools across Instagram, Facebook and Messenger to ensure teens do not spend too much time on social media and take regular breaks. The new tools, detailed in Meta’s Family Center, are rolling out in the US, UK and Canada.
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