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  • Updated: March 19, 2024

Meta to offer lower subscription price amid EU sanction

Meta to offer lower subscription price amid EU sanction

Meta, the parent company of social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, has put forward a proposal aimed at addressing regulatory concerns regarding its data practices in the European Union (EU).

The proposal involves reducing the price of its ad-free subscription, which is currently the only option for EU users to avoid tracking and profiling on its platforms.

This development was disclosed by Meta's lawyer, Tim Lamb, during a workshop in Brussels focused on the company's compliance with the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA).

According to Lamb, Meta has offered to lower the subscription cost from €9.99 to €5.99 per month per account, with a slightly reduced fee for additional accounts.

However, the implementation of this proposal hinges on feedback from the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), Meta's lead data protection regulator in the EU.

While Meta's spokesperson, Matthew Pollard, confirmed the proposal's accuracy, he emphasized that the company awaits regulatory feedback before finalizing any decisions.

The proposed reduction in subscription cost comes amid heightened scrutiny of Meta's data practices under the DMA and the Digital Services Act (DSA). These regulations impose strict requirements on user consent and data processing for advertising purposes.

Critics argue that Meta's existing "consent or pay" model, which gives users the choice between paying for an ad-free experience or accepting tracking, may coerce users into accepting tracking in violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In response to Meta's proposal, Max Schrems, founder of the privacy rights group Noyb, expressed scepticism.

Schrems highlighted that reducing the subscription cost does not address the underlying issues with Meta's consent mechanism, which critics argue is coercive.

The outcome of Meta's pricing proposal remains uncertain pending further regulatory deliberation and feedback. Nonetheless, the proposed reduction underscores the increasing regulatory scrutiny surrounding Meta's data practices and business model in the EU.

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