The European Commission (EC) outlined preliminary findings that Meta Platforms’ pay or consent advertising model breaches its Digital Markets Act (DMA) rules, as part of an ongoing investigation into the tech giant set to conclude in March 2025.

Meta’s Facebook and Instagram launched the no-ads subscription service in Europe last November, which requires users to subscribe to ad-free versions or consent to having their data tracked.

The EC’s procedural step found the advertising model does not allow users to opt for a service that uses less of their personal data but is otherwise equivalent to the personalised ads based service. 

It also stated the ad model does not allow users to exercise their right to freely consent to the combination of their personal data.

“To ensure compliance with the DMA, users who do not consent should still get access to an equivalent service which uses less of their personal data, in this case for the personalisation of advertising,” the EC findings stated.

If Meta is unable to resolve the issues, the EC can impose a fine worth up to ten per cent of its total worldwide turnover, which could go up to 20 per cent in case of repeated infringement.

“We want to empower citizens to be able to take control over their own data and choose a less personalised ads experience,” stated Margrethe Vestager, EVP in charge of digital policy at the EC.

A representative for Meta told Mobile World Live “subscription for no ads follows the direction of the highest court in Europe and complies with the DMA”.

“We look forward to further constructive dialogue with the European Commission to bring this investigation to a close,” Meta said in its statement.