April 21, 2024
  • Meta has been accused of running a data processing business in the facade of its privacy paywall; both of which violate European privacy laws.
  • Consumer activist groups for 8 countries including Spain, France, Greece, and Denmark. Slovenia, Slovakia, Norway, and the Czech Republic are filing a complaint against Meta on Thursday.

Meta Accused Of Running A Massive Data Processing Business

Meta has been accused of running an illegal operation of collecting user data from millions of its customers in Europe across Facebook and Instagram without their consent.

The accusation comes from The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) — a group of 45 consumer rights bodies. Out of this, 8 groups are filing a complaint against the company with their respective national data protection authorities.

The GDPR is a well-known European privacy law that makes data privacy available to every citizen without any extra cost.

These 8 groups are based in Spain, Czech Republic, France, Slovenia, Slovakia, Norway, Greece and Denmark.

This isn’t the first time that Meta has been under attack for collecting user data. Only a few weeks ago, several consumer rights groups accused the company of violating the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) with its privacy paywall.

Meta tried to monetize privacy by adding a monthly subscription model; forcing citizens to pay up if they don’t want their data tracked.

The service is priced at €9.99 per month for those who access Meta’s apps through the browser and €12.99 a month for those who use the Android or iOS mobile apps.

Data protection is a human right for all, not a premium feature reserved for the wealthy. Our hope is that the complaints can spark more regulatory scrutiny on the European level.Spokesperson for the Norwegian Data Protection Authority

As per reports, authorities are very concerned over the way Meta is conducting its business in the region.

The company has also been accused of tracking unnecessary details such as the user’s emotional state, addiction (or susceptibility to any), sexual orientation, and so on. According to the group, all this information is then used to fuel the online advertising industry.

Read More: Meta faces uphill battle as court rules against privacy measures for users under 18

Meta has denied all these allegations. The company, just like always, has confirmed that it takes data privacy and all the European consumer laws very seriously.

In fact, they have been working closely with all the lawmakers and policymakers of Europe to ensure that are following the best practices when it comes to user privacy.

The company has been under the strict radar of European laws and groups since 2019. And with the filing on Thursday, matters are only expected to get worse for it.

The last time these accusations were highlighted, the company said that this subscription model was put in place to comply with the strict EU regulations.

It all first started when Meta was fined €390m in January last year for asking users to leave the platform if they didn’t want their data tracked. This, according to the Irish Data Protection Commission, was illegal. According to the company, the subscription model was more about finding a remedy to the issues and less about generating revenue.

In May 2023, it was again fined €1.2 billion for transferring EU user data from Facebook to US servers.

And as for now, the Ireland Data Protection Commission said they haven’t received any complaints yet. That might be because it would first be examined by the respective data protection authorities before being forwarded to the DPC.

Read More: Meta faces legal action against its behavioral advertising approach in the EU

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