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Meta’s Pay or Consent Scheme Crushed by EU Regulators


EU Poised to Crush Meta’s Surveillance Ad Empire

In a move that’s being hailed as a major victory for digital rights advocates, the European Commission has slammed Meta’s controversial "pay or consent" scheme as a violation of the bloc’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).

According to preliminary findings, Meta’s forced choice between agreeing to its invasive tracking and profiling or shelling out up to €13 per month to access ad-free versions of Facebook and Instagram is a blatant disregard for the EU’s data protection and consumer protection rules.

If confirmed, this could lead to a staggering penalty for Meta, with fines reaching up to 10% of its global annual turnover or 20% for repeat offenders. But the real damage may be to Meta’s business model itself, as the EU’s investigation is a stark warning that the company’s surveillance ad empire is built on shaky ground.

The EU’s goal is to level the playing field by targeting the advantages enjoyed by dominant tech giants like Meta, which has used its massive market power to extract more data from web users and give its ad unit an unfair advantage.

In a clear nod to the growing backlash against data-driven advertising, the Commission is taking a hard stance against Meta’s insistence that its paid subscription option is an equivalent alternative to its tracking-based ad business. The EU is demanding a real choice for users, not just a paid option that still collects and combines their data for targeted ads.

As the investigation continues, it’s clear that the EU is on a collision course with Meta. The company has refused to explain why it chose not to offer users a free, privacy-safe alternative to its tracking-based ads, and instead forced them to choose between surveillance or paying up.

The stakes are high, but the EU’s determination to uphold consumer rights and protect the digital marketplace from exploitation is unwavering. As the clock ticks down to the 12-month deadline for completing the probe, one thing is clear: Meta’s days as the supreme ruler of the digital ad kingdom may be numbered.



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