Spanish media outlets have filed a lawsuit against Meta, demanding $US600 million in damages. The lawsuit claims that Meta is breaking EU data protection rules and using unfair practices to dominate the local advertising market.

A group of 83 Spanish media outlets accuse Meta of collecting user data without consent, breaking E.U. Laws.The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation that came into effect in 2018.

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Under the GDPR, platforms must obtain explicit consent from users to use their personal data. The group claims that Meta is breaking the laws in the EU and other countries, and using its market power to gain an advantage.

Meta is working to understand different interpretations of the GDPR. This includes how users can show their consent.Back in January, Meta outlined how it was working to adhere to GDPR mandates by re-framing the requirements of its apps.

As per Meta:

“Facebook and Instagram are inherently personalized, and we believe that providing each user with their own unique experience – including the ads they see – is a necessary and essential part of that service. To date, we have relied on a legal basis called ‘Contractual Necessity’ to show people behavioral advertisements based on their activities on our platforms, subject to their safety and privacy settings. It would be highly unusual for a social media service not to be tailored to the individual user.”

This particular strategy appears to be at the heart of this recent initiative, as Meta recently acknowledged the need to revise the legal foundation for processing “specific data for behavioral advertising.”

“This change is to address a number of evolving and emerging regulatory requirements in the region, notably how our lead data protection regulator in the EU, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), is now interpreting GDPR in light of recent legal rulings, as well as anticipating the entry into force of the Digital Markets Act (DMA).”

The Spanish media coalition thinks that this interpretation could be used in other regions where Meta operates.

Meta has yet to comment on the new filing.

Evolving E.U. Implementing new requirements to adhere to data regulations has caused significant challenges for all website operators, resulting in major headaches. These regulations demand strict compliance with rules regarding user consent and data permissions.

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In this context, many leading companies have pursued strategies to maintain their services without disrupting their operations by exploiting loopholes in the system.

Meta’s latest trick on this front is its new ad-free subscription package for E.U. Meta’s primary ad-serving business model is maintained by users. However, users have the option to opt out by paying.

Meta does not want users to pay for an ad-free version. However, simply offering the option may be enough to meet the new requirements in some legal interpretations.

A privacy group filed a complaint with the Austrian Data Protection Authority, claiming that forcing users to pay for data privacy breaches GDPR rules. Europe’s privacy laws are very complex. It is difficult for anyone who is not studying them in detail to fully understand all the implications. The consequences of these laws are not fully understood by everyone involved. This new push will lead to further clarification, though the challenges will likely keep coming, keeping Meta’s E.U. legal team in courts for some time yet.