Updated February 29th, 2024 at 18:31 IST

EU consumer groups file privacy complaints against Meta

Pachl expressed the need for data protection authorities to intervene and halt Meta's allegedly unfair data processing practices.

Reported by: Business Desk
Meta | Image:Meta
Advertisement

Meta woes continue: Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, is facing a wave of privacy complaints from eight European Union consumer groups. 

These groups have lodged complaints with data protection authorities in their respective countries, alleging that Meta has violated the EU's privacy regulations by collecting extensive user data without proper consent.

Advertisement

The complaints, filed by consumer groups in the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain, highlight concerns regarding Meta's adherence to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

According to the consumer bodies, Meta's data collection practices fail to comply with GDPR standards related to fair processing, data minimisation, and purpose limitation.

Advertisement

Ursula Pachl, deputy director general of the European Consumer Organisation, stressed that surveillance-based business models raise major GDPR compliance issues and impinge upon individuals' fundamental rights. 

Pachl expressed the need for data protection authorities to intervene and halt Meta's allegedly unfair data processing practices.

Advertisement

The consumer groups also criticised Meta's recent introduction of paid, ad-free subscriptions for Facebook and Instagram in Europe. 

Despite Meta's assertion that these subscriptions align with new EU tech regulations, critics argue that users are essentially being forced to pay for their privacy. 

Advertisement

Those who opt not to subscribe must continue using the platforms while being subjected to invasive advertising practices.

According to Pachl, Meta's subscription offering is a facade intended to conceal its ongoing data collection practices, which involve harvesting sensitive user information for monetisation through targeted advertising.

Advertisement

In response to the complaints, Meta has defended its subscription model, stating that it addresses evolving regulatory requirements and judicial interpretations shared by European authorities in recent years. However, the company's stance has not assuaged concerns raised by consumer groups regarding user privacy and data protection.

The outcome of these complaints and the subsequent actions taken by data protection authorities will be closely monitored as regulatory scrutiny over data privacy intensifies, particularly within the realm of social media platforms like Meta's Facebook and Instagram.

Advertisement

(With Reuters Inputs)

Advertisement

Published February 29th, 2024 at 11:16 IST