Meta’s ‘Consent Or Pay’ Data Grab In EU Faces Fresh Charges Of Privacy Coercion


A controversial move by Meta last year, when it switched to charging users in the Europe Union for an ad-free subscription for access Facebook and/or Instagram unless they agreed to be tracked and profiled so it could keep running its attention-mining microtargeting ad business, has triggered a set of complaints from consumer rights groups. The complaints are being brought under the bloc’s data protection rules.

Key Takeaway

Meta’s ‘consent or pay’ model in the EU is facing fresh charges of privacy coercion from consumer rights groups, with legal analysis suggesting breaches of GDPR. The pressure is mounting on Meta to reform its surveillance business model.

Consumer Rights Groups File Complaints Against Meta’s ‘Consent or Pay’ Model

Eight consumer rights groups from across the region are filing complaints with national data protection authorities against this “consent or pay” choice, the European consumer organization, BEUC — which is a membership and coordinating body for the groups — announced today.

Legal Analysis Suggests Meta’s Processing of Consumers’ Personal Data Breaches GDPR

BEUC said a legal analysis it undertook with members and the data rights law firm, AWO, concluded that Meta’s processing of consumers’ personal data breaches the GDPR in multiple ways. As well as lacking a valid basis, the analysis suggests some of the processing for ads “appears to rely invalidly on contract”.

Pressure Mounts on Meta’s Consent Coercion

If Meta’s latest consent coercion fails it could — finally — be forced to reform its surveillance business model. As we’ve written before, the stakes are high: For Meta and for web users in Europe.

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