Facebook and Instagram Subscriptions: Meta Faces New Legal Challenge over Data Privacy

Mon 13th May, 2024

Image by Ralf Ruppert from PixabayMeta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, faces a fresh lawsuit concerning its subscription model, centered on data protection concerns. Introduced in November 2023, this model presents users with a choice: either pay a monthly fee or consent to personalized advertising. The initiative has triggered legal challenges, following a previous successful case against Meta's labeling practices, reported by NEXTG.tv.

The North Rhine-Westphalia consumer advice center has now taken legal action against Meta over its handling of user data within the subscription model, as outlined in a report on the center's website. Despite the option to disable advertising by paying either 9.99 euros on Facebook or 12.99 euros on Instagram via apps, Meta continues data collection for other purposes, raising potential General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) concerns.

Subscription costs vary depending on the platform, with lower fees through Facebook's website compared to those via the Android and iOS app stores. Meta justifies this discrepancy by citing additional platform fees. Since March 2024, subscription prices have applied to individual accounts only, with extra charges for additional accounts. Additionally, Meta suggests circumventing Apple's commission to save 30% on Facebook and Instagram ads.

Despite the shift towards subscriptions, advertising remains a crucial revenue stream for Meta, particularly in Europe, according to its first-quarter 2024 quarterly figures. While emphasizing a commitment to adapting to European regulations, Meta's ongoing legal disputes underscore persistent conflicts with data protection authorities. Notably, Meta and TikTok have jointly contested the Digital Services Act's cost-sharing provisions within the EU.

The legal challenges from the NRW consumer advice center could significantly impact Meta's business model and data protection practices within social networks. The outcome of these lawsuits will determine any necessary adjustments Meta must make to ensure compliance with regulations. Amidst heightened scrutiny, Meta finds itself once more in the legal spotlight, amidst broader debates concerning data protection and user autonomy in the digital sphere.

Image by Ralf Ruppert from Pixabay


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