Meta will fight the EU over regulating Messenger

Meta is challenging the European Commission’s decision to regulate two of its services, Messenger and Marketplace, as gatekeepers under the bloc’s tough new restrictions on tech platforms. The company filed an appeal over the two services today arguing that neither should qualify, Meta spokesperson Chris Sgro told The Verge.

Reuters reported earlier Meta will not fight the European Commission’s gatekeeper designation from being applied to Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Being designated as a gatekeeper under the Digital Markets Act means that tech platforms have to abide by certain neutrality and openness rules. Messaging services like Meta’s Messenger need to be made interoperable with other messaging services; sales platforms like Meta’s Marketplace need to abide by rules that protect the merchants who use it.

Meta says Messenger isn’t distinct from Facebook

Both platforms meet the usage numbers that would qualify them as gatekeepers, but Meta argues that they should be exempted because of other distinctions. Meta argues that Messenger is a feature of Facebook and not a messaging platform unto itself (an interesting position given that the apps were split apart for close to a decade and only reunited earlier this year). Marketplace shouldn’t qualify, Meta says, because it’s a consumer-to-consumer service without Meta sitting in the middle.

The deadline is tomorrow for tech companies to appeal the European Commission’s gatekeeper designations. The Financial Times reports that a court is expected the rule on the appeals within months, ahead of the March 6th deadline to comply with the regulations. Apple is expected to appeal at least one of its own designations, too.

“This appeal seeks clarification on specific points of law regarding the designations of Messenger and Marketplace under the DMA. It does not alter or detract from our firm commitment to complying with the DMA, and we will continue to work constructively with the European Commission to prepare for compliance,” Sgro told The Verge in an emailed statement.