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EU Demands Facebook and Instagram Pay Users, Not Just Ask for Consent


EU Slams Meta with "Data Rapist" Charges: Facebook’s "Pay or Consent" Model Exposed as Illegal

In a shocking move, the European Union has formally charged Meta with violating its Digital Markets Act (DMA), accusing the social media giant of engaging in "data rape" with its "pay or consent" advertising model. The EU claims that Meta’s binary choice – pay for an ad-free experience or consent to personalized ads – is a thinly veiled attempt to exploit users’ personal data.

The European Commission’s investigation found that Meta’s "pay or consent" model forces users to choose between sacrificing their privacy or shelling out a monthly fee for an ad-free experience. The EU argues that this model is in violation of Article 5(2) of the DMA, which requires gatekeepers to provide users with a less personalized but equivalent alternative if they refuse to consent to the combination of their personal data.

"This is a classic case of data rape," said Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s Competition Commissioner. "Meta is forcing users to choose between sacrificing their privacy or paying a premium for an ad-free experience. It’s a clear violation of the DMA, and we will not stand idly by while they continue to exploit users’ personal data."

The EU’s charges come with severe penalties, including fines of up to 10 percent of Meta’s total worldwide revenue – a staggering $13.4 billion based on its 2023 results. The penalty could grow to up to 20 percent if Meta is found to continue violating the DMA.

Meta, of course, denies any wrongdoing, claiming that its "pay or consent" model is compliant with the DMA. But the EU is not buying it, and has given Meta the opportunity to respond to its findings.

As the investigation concludes next year, one thing is clear: the EU is serious about protecting users’ privacy and will not hesitate to take action against companies that engage in data exploitation. The clock is ticking for Meta, and the consequences of non-compliance could be severe.



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