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NOYB Files Complaint Against Meta's Ad-Free Subscription, Alleging 'Privacy Fee' Violates EU Laws

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is facing a complaint from digital rights group NOYB (None Of Your Business) regarding its paid no-ads subscription service. NOYB filed a complaint with the Austrian Data Protection Authority, asserting that Meta's subscription service amounts to paying a fee for privacy, which contradicts the genuine free will of users required by EU law. Meta's ad-free service, priced at 9.99 euros monthly for web users and 12.99 euros for iOS and Android users, has been introduced as an option in compliance with EU rules, offering users a choice regarding data collection for targeted ads.

The digital rights group, founded by privacy activist Max Schrems, disagrees with Meta's concept of consent, arguing that the company charges a "privacy fee" of up to 250 euros per year for exercising the fundamental right to data protection. NOYB also criticized the fee's amount, stating that it is unacceptable and highlighting that industry data suggests a small percentage of people opt to be tracked. Meta defended its subscription model, emphasizing that it aligns with European regulations and allows users to choose between ad-supported free services and ad-free subscriptions. The complaint is expected to be forwarded to the Irish data protection watchdog, as Meta's European headquarters are in Ireland.

The dispute between Meta and NOYB underscores the ongoing tension between privacy advocates and tech companies over data collection practices. As digital platforms explore alternative revenue streams amid increased scrutiny on ad-based business models, subscription services are seen as a way to offer users an ad-free experience while addressing privacy concerns. The outcome of this complaint may have broader implications for how such subscription models are viewed and regulated in the context of privacy laws.

NOYB Files Complaint Against Meta's Ad-Free Subscription, Alleging 'Privacy Fee' Violates EU Laws

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