Meta plans new overview for Facebook, Instagram users, German regulator says

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Meta Platforms' business group is seen in Brussels, Belgium December 6, 2022. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany's cartel office said Meta plans to introduce a new overview for users of its platforms Facebook and Instagram, in a step towards allaying anti-trust concerns following years of discussions with the regulator.

Meta's accounts centre will allow users to make "a largely free and informed decision" about whether they want to use accounts such as Instagram and Facebook in combination or separately, the office said.

"We have updated the Meta account overview to show more transparently how our services work together and give people more control over these features," a Meta spokesperson said.

The company will continue to work constructively with the authority, the spokesperson added.

In 2019, the cartel office sought to ban Meta - then Facebook - from combining user data from several sources without users' consent.

This prompted years of legal wrangling. The European Union's top court is expected to weigh in on the matter in July.

The new feature offered by Meta to manage accounts revises a previous plan that the cartel office described as "seriously deficient" and which it said did not inform consumers in a neutral or transparent way.

The office said its most recent assessment was based on standards developed in 2019 and that it therefore could not rule out that stricter requirements may be needed to satisfy German competition law.

Germany is keeping close watch over Meta after the regulator deemed it of "paramount significance for competition across markets", a classification which gives the regulator more leeway to curb digital companies' market power.

(Reporting by Rachel More; writing by Miranda Murray; editing by Jason Neely)

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