You shouldn't pay Meta to ensure your privacy, the EU says

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Meta is once again in the spotlight for issues related to privacy. More specifically, the European Union does not like the business model that the company is applying. This is because sharing your data depends on whether you pay or not, without more alternatives.

Currently, Meta and other platforms use a business model where the alternative to not giving your data is to pay a fee. Have you ever heard the phrase “If the service is free, you’re the product”? Well, that’s what it refers to. These companies use the data collected for commercial purposes. This usually translates into ads tailored to your tastes, which are determined by your use of free services.

In the case of Meta, users in EU countries can pay 10 euros per month to ensure their privacy. If you do not pay it, Meta interprets it as an authorization to collect your usage data on its services, such as Facebook and Instagram. However, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) spoke against this. According to the statement, the fact that the only alternative to not sharing usage data is to pay a fee is not the best way to do it.

The EU against Meta’s business model that charges you for privacy

The business model used by Meta is known as “consent or pay.” According to the EDPB, this model usually doesn’t “comply with the requirements for valid consent.” After all, at the end, the user only has the option to pay. Basically, the EU believes that there should be alternatives to using these services without sharing data and without being forced to pay.

Anu Talus, EDPB Chair, said that “controllers should take care at all times to avoid transforming the fundamental right to data protection into a feature that individuals have to pay to enjoy.” The statement also adds that the current model encourages users to consent to the collection of their data to access the service for free. This results in a decision where people do not really consider all the implications behind it.

At the moment, the EU is investigating “consent or pay” business models. New developments in this regard and possible new legislation will probably arise in the future. Meanwhile, the EU’s pronouncement is more of a “recommendation” to companies to make adjustments.