Meta to let EU users unlink Instagram and Facebook

22 Jan 2024

Image: Meta

As the March deadline for the DMA to take effect approaches, Meta is making sure it follows all EU rules that promote ‘fairness’ and ‘contestability’.

Meta will allow EU users to unlink their Instagram and Facebook accounts ahead of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) coming into force in March.

In an announcement today (22 January), the Facebook and Instagram parent company said that it will give its users in the EU, EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland more choices on how they would like to manage their Meta accounts in order to comply with the DMA.

“Over the next few weeks, people will receive notifications that will inform them about their ability to choose whether they would like to share information between our services,” the company wrote.

Users who have already chosen to connect their Instagram and Facebook will be able to either continue to keep their accounts connected or manage them separately so that their information is “no longer used” across accounts.

They can also choose to separate Messenger from Facebook to create a standalone messaging account without losing access to features such as voice and video calls. Additionally, users can choose to disallow Meta from using their Facebook info for Marketplace or Gaming.

“People in the EU, EEA and Switzerland also have the ability to use Instagram and Facebook for free with ads, or subscribe to stop seeing ads,” Meta added. “If people subscribe to stop seeing ads, their information will not be used for ads. This choice rolled out in November 2023.”

Meta also said that it supports the ambition of the DMA to promote contestability and fairness in digital markets.

“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.”

Last week, Instagram introduced what it calls Nighttime Nudges for teenage users to encourage them to close the app at night following criticism that it did not do enough to prevent some of the alleged damage the platform causes to younger users, such as exposure to interactions with strangers raising safety concerns as well as the time-consuming nature of the app.

This came a week after Meta introduced a set of new policies aimed at safeguarding teen users on Instagram and Facebook following a massive lawsuit against Meta, TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube in relation to child safety on their platforms.

However, Meta whistleblower Arturo Béjar said there was still no way for a teen to flag an unwanted advance on Instagram or Facebook.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic