'Pay or Okay' explained: Why more and more websites make you pay for your privacy

Forced Consent & Consent Bypass
 /  09 April 2024

So-called pay or consent systems are on the rise in Europe. First introduced by journalistic websites that were suffering from the loss of advertising revenue to big tech platforms, Meta adopted the approach for Instagram and Facebook in November 2023. In this video, we explain what this is all about and why this approach is dangerous for free consent online.

In November 2023, Meta introduced a paid subscription for Instagram and Facebook users who don't want to be tracked. The move came in response to a Court of Justice (CJEU) ruling in July 2023, which declared Meta's handling of user data illegal. Now, instead of asking users for their consent, the company is forcing them to either pay a fee of up to € 251.88 a year or agree to be tracked for targeted advertising.

In reality, most people have no choice but to accept the use of their data when faced with such a fee, even though the vast majority have no interest in being tracked. This is a major issue.

As this video is being recorded, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) is working on a binding opinion on 'Pay or Consent', which will determine whether Europeans continue to have a realistic option to protect their privacy online. If the approach is legitimised for Meta, companies across all industries could follow suit - which would mark the end of genuine consent to the use of European's data.

In the video below, Max Schrems of noyb explains what is at stake: