Romain Rouillard / Photo credit: JAAP ARRIENS / NURPHOTO / NURPHOTO VIA AFP 16:31 p.m., November 28, 2023

The organization Noyb has announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Meta because of the data protection policy practiced by the parent company of Facebook and Instagram. Now, the two social networks offer its users two options: pay for a subscription or let Meta exploit their personal information.

"Pay or accept". This is how the Noyb organization sums up the choice proposed for several days by Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram. The privacy activists have filed a complaint with the Austrian Data Protection Authority and point the finger at Meta's privacy policy.

Now, the social networks of the company led by Mark Zuckerberg suggest that their users pay a subscription of 13 euros per month. If they refuse, Meta grants itself the right to exploit their personal information. A proposal that the Noyb organisation considers illegal and contrary to European law. Also denouncing an "unacceptable" sum, she stressed the necessity of her approach. "If Meta gets away with it, competitors will soon follow in its footsteps," it writes on its website.

The "free will" of users

Specifically, Noyb relies on a decision by the European Data Protection Board, which last January fined Meta €390 million for breaches of data protection rules. In addition, the organization argues that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled last July on the illegality of Meta's processing of user data for the purposes of personalized advertising. At that time, the body recalled the need to obtain the free and fair consent of users.


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Through this complaint, Noyb considers that introducing a paid formula does not allow this freedom of choice to be respected. "All available scientific research suggests that so-called 'Pay or Okay' systems are the antithesis of free consent and fundamentally affect users' 'free will'," the organization said.

'Fundamental rights fees'

Finally, Noyb denounces a confidentiality "reserved for the rich" that Meta's practices in this area would induce. But also a tariff that "completely ignores the very different income levels between EU countries" that could become particularly prohibitive if other platforms were to emulate Meta. "According to Google, the average person has 35 apps installed on their smartphone. If all these apps followed Meta's lead and charged similar fees, users would have to pay a 'fundamental rights fee' of €8,815.80 per year," the organisation concludes.