EU Privacy Watchdog Calls Out Meta For Its Paid Ad-Free Subscription Service

Facebook’s parent firm Meta rolled out a new subscription service for users in the EU that would make their experience on its apps ‘free from all ads’.

But from the start, it’s not been getting much love and is thoroughly criticized by many who feel it’s just another means of Meta making money. And now, the region’s top privacy watchdog is stepping in to have their say on the matter.

Speaking on Wednesday regarding the ordeal, it responded to Meta’s no-ads subscription that’s designed for use across Instagram, and Facebook throughout Europe. It’s interesting how it’s getting plenty of attention now despite Meta unveiling its plans in November last year. But we feel it’s better late than never right?

The latest news on this front is now dealing with how it’s getting widespread criticism from regulators too who feel such acts are not going to be tolerated any longer because nobody should be subjected to targeted advertising without consent to begin with. And now that they must pay a fee attached to rid the service from tagging along is just baffling.

The American tech giant has argued that it’s only trying to comply better with the policies in the EU that don’t allow ad tracking. They’re supposedly thinking outside the box and working toward giving people free services in return for allowing tracking that gets funded via ad revenue.

But in the eyes of privacy experts and leading consumer activists, this behavior is daunting and might give rise to other firms to follow in its footsteps and that’s the last thing they need right now. So before that happens, privacy regulators located in countries like Germany and the Netherlands are requesting the EDPB to chime in for a greater opinion on how valid the consent is here.

If controllers are opting to charge a fee to get access to an alternative that they feel is equivalent, then much consideration must be provided here in terms of offering an alternative option too. And this would be free of cost and shouldn’t come with behavioral ads, the EDPB added in its recent statement.

In another example, it mentioned how consideration could be given to a means of ads where there is little to no type of personal data becoming a part of the deal.

Moreover, other options were similarly provided by the regulator because they feel no consumer should be forced to opt in when there are no alternatives present because not all comprehend the consequences of decisions made here when they’re requested to choose between making an ad-free payment or opting for tracking in return for another free of cost service that’s getting funding from ad revenue.

Today, plenty of companies are seen who offer binary choices to users that fall short of the requirements of giving valid consent under the latest EU privacy regulations.

We saw earlier how Meta mentioned on Wednesday concerning past blogs that revealed how a no-add subscription was talked about in regards to confirmation of the EU court ruling that backs these kinds of models in place. The goal is to give consent for better data processing so that more targeted ads can be achieved and all parties benefit.

So right now, the company is welcoming the EDPB while others have begun a nuanced chat on the statement, ‘pay or okay’ and therefore getting clarifications on how bigger apps can’t use these references any longer. NOYB’s head even revealed via a new statement that more diverse options like paying for privacy should be one choice while another would be related to giving consent for collecting data.

Image: DIW-aigen

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