A complaint to the European Commission for unfair commercial practices by Meta was filed today by the European Federation of Consumers (BEUC), whose member is the Union of Consumers Quality of Life (EKPOIZO) and 18 other members from 16 countries.

In addition, they check for any violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to which the user’s consent must meet a series of strict conditions in order to be considered legitimate.

In particular, as stated in an announcement by EKPIOZO, “Meta is changing its services in the E.U. and invites Facebook and Instagram users, via a notification on their screens, to either opt-in or opt-out.

In case they choose not to pay a subscription it is not possible to use the applications without their consent to the processing of their personal data for the display of personalized advertisements by Meta. If they agree to pay a monthly subscription they will stop seeing ads.”

This particular commercial practice, as noted, is prohibited by EU law. for consumer protection. Its compliance with it is also an issue protection of personal data and privacy of users as Fundamental rights and the new legislation on Digital Services (Digital Services Act) and Digital Markets (Digital Markets Act).

“It is noteworthy that the new policy adopted by the technological giant is unfair and illegal for the millions of European users of Facebook and Instagram. Meta violates EU law in various ways. for the protection of consumers due to its unfair, misleading and aggressive practices” as noted in the announcement. In addition, it is emphasized that “the Authorities are called upon to take action and ensure that Meta stops misleading and bombarding consumers with these illegal practices”.

The issues to be considered under consumer protection legislation are as follows:

– Meta’s use of partially blocking users from Facebook and Instagram, in order to make an immediate decision about one option or the other, deprives users of the opportunity or time to make an informed choice and therefore constitutes aggressive practice. Meta pushes consumers to make a choice they may not want to because of the immediate pushiness and creation of a sense of urgency.

– Furthermore, many consumers are misled into believing that by choosing to pay as presented to them, they have chosen a more privacy-friendly option, which includes de facto limited tracking and non-profiling. But in reality, it is possible that their personal data will continue to be collected and used, but for purposes other than advertising.

– Meta provides inaccurate and incomplete information to consumers and de facto prevents them from making an informed decision. In particular, them misleading with the dilemma of the subscription or the “free” option, which is not really “free” since consumers pay for it by providing their personal data, as previous court decisions have already pointed out.

– Due to the great influence of Meta’s Facebook and Instagram services in the EU market. and the particularly powerful effects of social networking platforms (since all our friends are on Facebook and Instagram); users don’t really have a choice, because if they stopped using the services, they would lose all their contacts and communication history, as it was formed in recent years. Very high subscription costs for “ad-free” services are also a deterrent, meaning consumers have no real choice.