On Thursday, the largest consumer organization in Europe claimed that Meta Platforms (META.O), a fee-based solution launched in Europe this month, violates EU consumer regulations.
The European Consumer Organization (BEUC) and 18 of its members filed a complaint with the network of consumer protection authorities (CPC) two days after the advocacy group NOYB filed a complaint with the Austrian privacy watchdog, stating that Meta’s new service amounted to paying a fee to ensure privacy. The complaint was delivered to the CPC.
During the announcement of the transfer, Meta referred to the blog post that it had published on October 30.
“The option for people to purchase a subscription for no ads balances the requirements of European regulators while giving users choice and allowing Meta to continue serving all people in the EU, EEA, and Switzerland,” according to the organization.
BEUC highlighted several problems as breaching EU consumer law by using unfair, deceptive, and aggressive practices, including partially blocking consumers from using the services to force them to make a decision quickly and providing misleading and incomplete information in the process,” BEUC Deputy Director General Ursula Pachl commented in a publicly issued statement.
Even though consumers may choose to use the new service, BEUC stated that it was very probable that their data would still be gathered and utilized for other purposes. In addition, it expressed concern about the “very high subscription fee for ad-free services,” which potentially discourages customers.
Customers will agree to Meta’s profiling and tracking at this price, which is precisely what the tech giant intends to do. Pachl said that individuals should not be required to pay for the safety of their personal information.
The monthly fee for the ad-free service was 9.99 euros ($10.96) for web users, and it was 12.99 euros for users of iOS and Android technology. According to Meta, these charges are comparable to those of the premium services offered by Google (GOOGL.O) to YouTube and Spotify (SPOT.N), as well as those offered by Netflix (NFLX.O).