After less than a month since its launch in Europe, Meta’s paid ad-free service is facing backlash in the region. According to the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), the service breaches the European Union’s (EU) consumer laws. The BEUC filed a joint complaint with 18 members to the Consumer Protection Authorities (CPC).
Meta’s latest run-in with the law in Europe comes days after the Austrian privacy watchdog, NOYB, said that the paid service amounts to paying a fee for privacy.
Meta says that the paid add-free service aims to comply with the EU’s privacy rules. The rules require companies to offer a choice to users whether to collect their data for targeted ads or not.
According to BEUC Deputy Director General Ursula Pachl, “Meta is breaching EU consumer law by using unfair, deceptive and aggressive practices, including partially blocking consumers from using the services to force them to take a decision quickly, and providing misleading and incomplete information in the process.“
Will Meta offer its add-free service for no cost?
Meta has not yet stated their immediate plans for the EU. Moreover, according to the BEUC, data collection might continue even if users opt for the new service. The regulator also highlighted the very high subscription fee for ad-free services. The ad-free service costs 9.99 euros ($10.96) monthly for Web users and 12.99 euros ($14.25) for iOS and Android users. Meta says the prices align with YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify’s premium services.
According to Pachl, “At this price, consumers are simply going to consent to Meta’s profiling and tracking, which is exactly what the tech giant wants. People should not be asked to pay for protecting their privacy.“