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Facebook and Instagram may face fines in one of EU countries: Reason named

Facebook and Instagram may face fines in one of EU countries: Reason named In one of the EU countries, Facebook and Instagram may face fines

The European Consumer Rights Organization (Noyb) has filed a complaint against the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. They allege that the websites violate citizens' rights, according to Noyb.

Noyb submitted the complaint against Meta (the company that owns the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram) to the Austrian data protection authority. The organization claims that Meta violates the fundamental right of Europeans to data protection by forcing them to choose between being tracked for personalized advertising and paying up to 251.88 euros per year (10,025.43 UAH).

Facebook plans to introduce a fee for using the social media platform without consent for the collection and utilization of personal data for targeted advertising. The cost will be up to 12.99 euros per month for a single account, with an additional charge of 8 euros for each linked account (such as Instagram). Consequently, the annual cost of using Facebook and Instagram will amount to 251.88 euros for an individual.

For comparison, Meta reports that its average revenue per user in Europe from the third quarter of 2022 to the third quarter of 2023 was $16.79. This equates to a total annual revenue of 62.88 euros per user, making the proposed monthly fee disproportionately high.

Noyb is concerned that Meta's policy of charging users for opting out of tracking may set a precedent, with other technology companies following suit. Already, TikTok is currently testing a paid subscription without ads outside the United States. If this trend continues, online privacy could become inaccessible for many individuals.

According to a Google study, the average person uses 35 apps on their smartphone. If all these apps were to charge a fee for opting out of tracking, as Meta does, people would need to pay an average of 8,815.80 euros per year. For a family of four, this would amount to 35,263.20 euros annually, exceeding the average full-time income in the EU. In countries with lower average incomes, these figures would be even higher.

The cost of privacy imposed by Meta is not only unreasonably high but also unjust. In EU countries, there are significant income disparities, and 21.6% of the EU population is at risk of poverty or social isolation.

As an example, consider an applicant receiving unemployment benefits who is facing financial difficulties. They cannot afford to pay an additional 250 euros per year for privacy when making ends meet is already challenging.

As we reported earlier, Meta will introduce a subscription for Facebook and Instagram users in Europe starting in November. This pricing structure disproportionately affects individuals with limited financial means, exacerbating the challenges faced by those already grappling with economic hardships.