Consumidores europeos señalan a una plataforma digital por infringir la RGPD mediante su propuesta de suscripción de pago

Objective is facing new allegations of privacy data violation for the «offer» of subscription to social media platforms in order to avoid ads, introduced last November. The complainants are eight consumer groups located in different European countries, who are coordinated by the European consumer organization BEUC.

The Spanish representative of the group is the Federation of Consumers and Users, CECU, who filed a complaint with the national data protection authorities (AEPD). In it, the director of CECU, David Sánchez, stated that «There has long been a power disparity between large tech companies and individuals using their services. This new policy of ‘paying or consenting to the use of our information for advertising’ exemplifies this imbalance and is another way of trying to maintain the model of massive commercial surveillance to which we are subjected every day.»

9.99 euros for your privacy

The ad-free version of Objective is a subscription offer introduced by the company in response to EU privacy regulations, specifically the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Digital Services Act (DSA).

In November 2022, Mark Zuckerberg’s company launched a payment plan for EU users that allows them to enjoy Facebook and Instagram without ad display. Users who opt for this subscription pay a monthly fee of 9.99 €/month on the website and 12.99 €/month on iOS and Android. This subscription applies to all Facebook and Instagram accounts linked in a user’s account center.

However, BEUC ensures that the information provided by Objective on how consumers’ data will be processed in either case – paying or not – is not sufficient or clear, and claims that the multinational seeks to «coerce consumers into accepting the processing of their personal data.»

Lawsuits and criticisms

Since Objective launched the paid version, there have been complaints and controversies from various consumer organizations across Europe. On this occasion, the formal presentation by BEUC accuses the company of keeping consumers in the dark about data processing, making it impossible for them to understand how processing changes when choosing one option or another. The organization argues that the company does not demonstrate the need for the fee imposed on consumers who do not give their consent, which is a requirement according to the European Court of Justice.

In this regard, BEUC’s Deputy Director General, Ursula Pachl, pointed out that Objective’s «pay or consent» offer is an attempt to legalize its business model, which involves the massive collection of personal information for monetization through invasive advertising. «It is essential that any consent provided by consumers is valid and meets the high standards set by the law, which requires such consent to be freely given, specific, informed, and unequivocal. This is not the case with Objective’s ‘pay or consent’ model,» the statement indicates.

The European Commission is also monitoring Objective’s compliance with the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA) regulations. Violations of these regulations could lead to significant sanctions, including the possibility of ordering companies to reform their business models.

The complaints argue that Objective lacks a valid legal basis for data processing under the GDPR, and penalties for non-compliance could reach up to 4% of the company’s global annual turnover.

Photo: Depositphotos.

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