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Meta Faces European Consumer Complaints Over Facebook, Instagram Data Use

By Helena Smolak


Meta Platforms faces complaints from consumer organizations in eight European countries over its collection and processing of data of Facebook and Instagram users.

Eight consumer groups filed complaints with data-protection authorities in France, Spain, Denmark and other five countries, the European Consumer Organization said Thursday.

The complaints submitted by members of the network of European consumer organizations claim Meta's collection of users' personal data doesn't comply with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, a strict data-privacy and security law that took effect in 2018.

"Meta strongly disputes these allegations--we take our regulatory obligations extremely serious and are very confident that our approach complies with GDPR," a Meta spokesman said.

The complaints challenge Meta's decision to offer European users of Facebook and Instagram a choice to either pay for ad-free versions of the platforms or consent to the use of their data for targeted advertising. The company said in October that it would start rolling out the model in Europe.

The launch of the paid-subscription model marked an attempt by Meta to navigate EU rules that threaten to restrict its ability to show users personalized ads without first seeking user consent, jeopardizing its main source of revenue.

In November, the European Consumer Organization filed a separate complaint against Meta's commercial practices over its pay-or-consent approach. Privacy organizations including and data-protection authorities have also raised concerns in recent months.

"'Subscription for no ads' addresses the latest regulatory developments, guidance and judgments shared by leading European regulators and the courts over recent years," the Meta spokesman said.

Facebook had 308 million daily active users in Europe and 2.11 billion globally in the fourth quarter, according to company data.


Write to Helena Smolak at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 29, 2024 09:04 ET (14:04 GMT)

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