Both companies are engaging in “forced consent” according to privacy group noyb.eu. Forced consent is a “take it or leave it approach” where a company requires that users opt into data terms it sets or blocks them from accessing their service entirely. In a brief outlining their complaint, noyb.eu says:
The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force today at midnight, is supposed to give users a free choice, whether they agree to data usage or not. The opposite feeling spread on the screens of many users: tons of “consent boxes” popped up online or in applications, often combined with a threat, that the service cannot longer be used if user do[es] not consent. One the first day of GDPR noyb.eu has therefor[e] file[ed] four complaints against Google (Android), Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram over “forced consent.”
“Facebook has even blocked accounts of users who have not given consent. In the end, users only had the choice to delete the account or hit the “agree” button–that’s not a free choice, it more reminds of a North Korean election process,” Max Schrems, the chair of noyb.eu, said.
If the EU comes to the similar conclusion noyb.eu has, both Facebook and Google could face hefty fines for already breaking GDPR rules. Those fines could total as much as $7 billion combined.