HomeWinBuzzer NewsMeta's Pay for Privacy Data Subscription Challenged by European Commission

Meta’s Pay for Privacy Data Subscription Challenged by European Commission

The EC is investigating Meta's "pay for privacy" model, alleging it breaks data privacy laws by forcing users to choose between data tracking for targeted ads or paying a fee.

-

The European Commission has initiated legal proceedings against Meta, claiming the company forces users to either pay a fee or agree to data collection for targeted ads, allegedly infringing upon EU data privacy laws.

Details of the Accusation

The crux of the Commission's argument is that Meta's policies require users to opt between paying for services or allowing their data to be utilized for personalized advertisements, which purportedly violates the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). According to GDPR, consent must be given freely, specifically, and clearly, without ambiguity. The investigation will ascertain if Meta's user consent practices breach these requirements by exerting undue pressure.

Besides GDPR, the Digital Markets Act (DMA) is also at play in this case. The DMA demands explicit user consent before tech firms can blend or use personal data across different services. The Commission's issue lies with Meta's necessity to provide its services freely, sans personalized ads, if users decline data use for such ads. Meta is a gatekeeper under the DMA laws, meaning the company must uphold certain regulatory standards.

Possible Repercussions for Meta

If found guilty, Meta might confront hefty fines and could be required to alter its data management policies. This case underscores the EU's commitment to upholding data privacy laws and might set a new standard for large tech firms in their data handling practices. Meta has announced that it is examining the allegations and intends to fully cooperate with the investigation.

This legal action follows a similar situation with , who faced accusations of anti-competitive behavior regarding its App Store rules. Both cases exemplify the EU's strategic efforts to regulate major tech companies and ensure compliance with data protection norms.

Meta is currently under scrutiny from the academic community and researchers regarding its methods for monitoring misinformation on its platforms. The European Commission has already initiated a formal investigation into potential violations of the Digital Services Act by the  giant. 

Last week, Meta halted the training of its artificial intelligence models using data from  and  users within the European Union. The decision comes in response to rising demands from European regulatory bodies, delaying the company's AI service rollout in the region.

Financial and Operational Stakes

Meta may face penalties amounting to 10 percent of its global revenue, with potential increases up to 20 percent for repeated offenses. The Commission has been scrutinizing large tech firms since March, with a deadline set for next March to finalize its initial conclusions.

The investigation's outcome could have far-reaching effects not only for Meta but also for other tech firms operating in Europe. It might lead to more stringent regulatory measures and demand modifications in the management and safeguarding of user data. This development by the European Commission might initiate resistance from major tech companies, possibly delaying or canceling new product launches in the EU, which could affect EU consumers' access to new technologies and services, potentially impacting productivity.

Microsoft's European Struggles

's partnership with OpenAI is also under investigation in the EC. Margrethe Vestager, the Executive Vice President of the European Commission, outlined a potetial investigation in a speech last week. She said that officials have posed a series of questions to  and  regarding “specific exclusivity clauses” within their partnership agreement.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.