In a bold move, Meta is launching an ad-free subscription for Facebook and Instagram within the European Union, EEA, and Switzerland. Starting next month, this decision follows ongoing privacy disputes and the inability of Meta to claim the right to track and profile users for ad targeting.
European data protection laws mandate genuine consent from users for such tracking. Meta's new model of 'pay for privacy or face tracking' might not sit well with privacy champions. The fee for escaping Meta's gaze? €9.99/month on web and €12.99/month on mobile for linked Facebook and Instagram accounts. Additional accounts come with extra costs, posing a hefty price for privacy.
The EU's top court has previously suggested the possibility of an "appropriate fee" for services devoid of tracking. Yet, how Meta's pricing stands in this context remains to be seen.
noyb, a European privacy group, has consistently contested similar tactics. Max Schrems, noyb’s founder, questioned the legality and appropriateness of such high fees.
Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC) is yet to give the green light to Meta's subscription model. The DPC, along with other European authorities, will examine its alignment with GDPR rules.
Additionally, with Meta now under the EU Digital Services Act (DSA) and designated as a gatekeeper by the Digital Markets Act (DMA), it's not just about data protection. The European Commission will oversee Meta's compliance with these acts, potentially leading to more oversight and complications for the tech giant.
The bottom line? Meta's move is audacious and stirring up a storm. The question remains - will users in Europe pay for their privacy, or is data the new currency?