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Facebook parent Meta facing EU data privacy complaints again

Published 29/02/2024, 12:28
Updated 29/02/2024, 12:28
© Reuters Facebook parent Meta facing EU data privacy complaints again

Proactive Investors - Facebook (NASDAQ:META) parent Meta Platforms Inc has been targeted by eight European Union consumer groups, alleging the company's data collection practices breach GDPR rules.

These complaints, filed in countries including the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, and Spain, accuse Meta of failing to adhere to GDPR's fair processing and data minimisation standards.

The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) accused Meta’s ‘pay-or-consent’ business model of being a “smokescreen to obscure (the) real problem of illegal processing of data”.

Meta's ‘pay or consent’ model offers users a choice of either consenting to personalised advertising and data tracking, or paying a subscription fee for an ad-free experience.

It came after a Court of Justice of the European Union ruling in July 2023, which stated that companies like Meta could not track users' online activities without their consent for targeted advertising purposes.

However, BEUC believes Meta is continuing to process users’ data “without a legal basis, as the consent the company asks for is not valid”.

"Surveillance-based business models pose all kinds of problems under the GDPR and it's time for data protection authorities to stop Meta's unfair data processing and its infringing of people’s fundamental rights," Ursula Pachl, deputy director general of the European Consumer Organisation, said in a statement.

"Subscription for no ads addresses the latest regulatory developments, guidance and judgments shared by leading European regulators and the courts over recent years," a Meta spokesperson told Reuters.

"Specifically, it conforms to direction given by the highest court in Europe: in July, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) endorsed the subscriptions model as a way for people to consent to data processing for personalised advertising."

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Meta has been at the receiving end of multiple high-profile privacy complaints in the past.

Perhaps the most infamous case, Meta was accused of allowing Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, to access the data of millions of Facebook users without their consent.

This data was allegedly used to influence voter opinion during elections around the world, most notably the 2016 US Presidential Election and the Brexit vote.

Read more on Proactive Investors UK

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