The non-governmental organization night founded by Max Schrems, an Austrian activist committed to protecting the privacy and digital rights of individuals, is once again on a war footing. He’s still in the sights Meta and its decision to allow the free use of social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram only with the user’s explicit consent for the monitoring of their online activities. At the end of October 2023 we announced the arrival of the paid versions of Facebook and Instagram which offer users the opportunity to use the platforms without advertising.
“European users now have the “choice” to agree to be tracked for personalized advertising or pay up to €251.88 a year to maintain their fundamental right to data protection on Facebook and Instagram“, explains noyb in a statement publicly announcing the presentation of one complaint formal before the Privacy Guarantor Austrian.
An attempt to circumvent current regulations in the European Union, according to noyb
noyb first of all recalls the ruling of July 2023 of the Court of Justice of the European Union which established that the data processing of users for the purposes of displaying personalized ads by Meta was to be considered illegal. There is also a hanging on Meta’s “head”. fine of 390 million eurosimposed by the European Data Protection Board (EPDB) for precisely the same reason, as a result of a complaint filed by noyb in 2018.
According to the organization of Max Schrems, Meta is reportedly attempting to undermine European legislation by charging users for providing a privacy-friendly platform. “Since the beginning of November, Facebook and Instagram users have had to choose between paying up to 251.88 euros per year or handing over their personal data to Meta for display of targeted advertisements“, we read again in the note signed by noyb.
Consent that becomes practically mandatory to use Facebook and Instagram for free
EU legislation provides that the consent for tracking online and for personalized advertising is valid only if “freely provided” and fully aware of each individual user. noyb judges Meta’s action as the introduction of a real one privacy taxa sort of “obligatory step” for users who want to continue using Facebook and Instagram for free.
noyb also does the math in Meta’s pocket: the deactivation of the user monitoring It costs up to 12.99 euros per month. “Each linked account (like Instagram) costs another 8 euros, for a total of 251.88 euros per year for a person who uses both Instagram and Facebook. For comparison, Meta says its average revenue per user in Europe between the third quarter of 2022 and the third quarter of 2023 was $16.79. This equates to an annual turnover of only 62.88 euros per user, a value that makes it decidedly disproportionate monthly fee requested by Meta“.
Users do not want to be tracked but 99.9% of them consent to the acquisition of personal data
noyb’s analysis is filled with some data that aims to demonstrate how the user choice of Meta cannot, by force of circumstances, be free. The solutions “Pay or Okay“, again according to noyb, are not appreciated by users: 3-10% want their personal data to be used for targeted advertising but 99.9%, in the end, still accept by expressing consent.
Finally, the noyb spokespersons conclude by observing how the risk is that of making privacy an advantage reserved for the wealthiest people when, in reality, we are talking about fundamental rights that each citizen is entitled to.
noyb urges the Austrian Data Protection Authority to initiate an urgent procedure to stop the illegal processing. Furthermore, it suggests the imposition of a deterrent sanction, so that other companies avoid following the approach used by Meta.
Opening image credit: iStock.com/lucadp