Meta has appealed against the European Union’s “gatekeeper” designations for its Messenger and Marketplace platforms. This marks the first instance of a major tech company challenging the new regulations established by the European Union under the Digital Markets Act (DMA).
The EU’s latest crackdown on Big Tech, initiated in September, selected 22 “gatekeeper” services operated by six of the world’s largest tech companies to be subject to new rules. Meta’s Facebook, Instagram, Marketplace, and WhatsApp were all identified as gatekeepers, falling under the DMA’s provisions intended to level the competitive playing field between tech giants and smaller competitors, reported Reuters.
A Meta spokesperson emphasized that the appeal is centered on seeking clarity on specific legal points regarding the designations of Messenger and Marketplace under the DMA. The company maintains its unwavering commitment to complying with the DMA and pledges to work collaboratively with the European Commission to ensure compliance.
However, it is noteworthy that Meta has chosen not to challenge the gatekeeper designation for Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The company argues that Marketplace, being a consumer-to-consumer service, does not fit within the definition of an online intermediation service. Additionally, Meta asserts that Messenger is merely a chat functionality of Facebook, distinct from the criteria outlined in the DMA.
The DMA imposes obligations on major tech players such as Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet’s Google, Amazon, Meta, and ByteDance’s TikTok. These obligations include allowing third-party apps or app stores on their platforms and facilitating a smoother transition for users to switch from default apps to alternatives. The overarching aim is to foster a more competitive digital landscape.
In a broader context, European Union antitrust regulators also scrutinize whether Microsoft’s Bing and Apple’s iMessage should comply with the new rules. This underscores the EU’s persistent efforts to regulate the conduct of major tech companies and prevent anti-competitive practices in the digital marketplace.
Meta’s decision to challenge the gatekeeper designation for Messenger and Marketplace introduces a significant legal dimension to the ongoing dialogue between tech giants and regulatory bodies.