Europe's largest consumer group complains about Meta's approach of forcing people to give up personal information or pay money for advertising

Meta is rolling out a paid plan in Europe that allows you to remove ads from Facebook and Instagram, but Europe's largest consumer organization has filed a complaint with the European Union's consumer protection authority, saying the paid plan is too expensive. Masu.

Choose to Lose with Meta | BEUC

Meta's “overpriced” ad-free subscriptions make privacy a “luxury good”: EU suit | Ars Technica

Meta, which operates SNS such as Facebook and Instagram, has been warned by the European Commission (EC), the policy enforcement agency of the European Union (EU), that its advertising services are hindering competition, and it is taking action. Therefore, at the end of October 2023, we announced a plan that will allow you to remove ads on Facebook and Instagram. The price of the paid plan that allows you to remove advertisements is 9.99 euros (approximately 1,600 yen) per month.

A paid plan of over 1,500 yen per month will be announced that will allow you to remove ads on Facebook and Instagram - GIGAZINE

Just a month after Meta announced its ad-free paid plan, Europe's largest consumer organization , the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) , made up of authorities responsible for enforcing EU consumer protection laws, announced that I filed a complaint with the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC). BEUC claims that Meta's ad-free paid plans are unreasonably expensive and violate EU law that cites the protection of user privacy as a fundamental right.

Regarding Meta's policy, BEUC said, ``Meta allows users to use Facebook and Instagram for free, but users who do not use a paid plan without ads (in other words, use it for free) are not allowed to collect user data for advertising purposes. We are asking for your consent.' BEUC argues that this approach is unfair and needs to be stopped.

BEUC has filed a complaint with the CPC, and the group makes four claims:

1: Meta partially blocks the use of Facebook and Instagram until the user chooses one of the options (accepting the collection of user data for advertising purposes or accepting a paid plan without ads), but this is prohibited under European consumer law as offensive behavior. Through persistence and urgency, Meta encourages consumers to make unwanted choices.

2: Many consumers may think that by choosing the paid plan offered, they are getting a more privacy-friendly option with less tracking and profiling by Meta. However, in reality, it is highly likely that user data will continue to be collected and used for purposes other than advertising.

Meta provides consumers with misleading and incomplete information, preventing them from making informed choices. Meta deceives consumers by offering them a choice between paid and free options, but the free option is 'not actually free' because the consumer provides user data to Meta, BEUC said. points out.

Given the market power of Facebook and Instagram in the EU and their very strong network effects (because all of their friends are on Facebook and Instagram), if consumers stop using these services they will lose the contacts they have built over the years. Stopping using the service may not be an option, as you will lose all connections and contacts. And the fact that ad-free paid plans are extremely expensive is also a deterrent for consumers.

Two days before BEUC's complaint was filed, the privacy advocacy group NOYB also filed a complaint with Australia's privacy watchdog. NOYB is filing a lawsuit claiming that Meta's ``accept ads or pay'' method violates the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

noyb files GDPR complaint against Meta over “Pay or Okay”

NOYB says, ``Facebook alone has introduced a ``privacy fee'' (paid plan) of up to 12.99 euros (about 2,100 yen) per month if users do not consent to their personal data being collected for targeted advertising. If this account is linked to Instagram etc., there will be an additional cost of 8 euros (approximately 1,300 yen). In other words, for users who use Instagram and Facebook, it costs a total of 251.88 euros (about 41,000 yen) per year per person. According to Meta, the average revenue per user in Europe from the third quarter of 2022 (July to September) to the third quarter of 2023 was $ 16.79 (about 2,500 yen). This is equivalent to an annual expenditure of 62.88 euros (approximately 10,000 yen) per user, which is extremely disproportionate as a monthly fee.'' He claims that Meta's paid plans are unreasonably expensive. .

in Web Service, Posted by logu_ii