Lawmakers Urge Facebook To Kill “Coercive” Privacy Fee

Several months ago, Facebook rolled out a controversial subscription plan for European users that would allow them to pay a monthly fee to opt out of data tracking. The company did this to comply with a strict European privacy law called the GDPR, but the move has been almost universally criticized as a way to coerce users into paying for their online privacy. And this week, a group of lawmakers went a step further, writing an open letter to Facebook executive Nick Clegg accusing the company of manipulating users and urging it to revise its business model.

According to the lawmakers, this subscription fee has no reason to exist because Facebook could make nearly the same profit with “contextual advertising that does not require personalized tracking and surveillance.”

“The trajectory of privacy and data protection is at a critical juncture, and it is imperative that all stakeholders, including tech giants like yours, uphold their responsibilities to safeguard these rights,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter. “We stand firm in our commitment to preserving the integrity of the GDPR and ensuring that individuals retain genuine control over their personal data without coercion or discrimination.”

For its part, Facebook seems to think it’s done enough to comply with the law by implementing this cynical subscription program. However, with the amount of pressure it’s facing, the company may need to revisit the model ASAP.

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