Free IS the problem
Arguably, the "free" model is the absolute heart of the problem. Since "free" is actually impossible, it's the users who have to be "monetised"—by now a euphemism for the surveillance, invasion of privacy and manipulation that underpins Facebook, Google and all the unspeakably shitty adverts that befoul the internet.
The way to cut through all of this crap in one fell swoop is to prohibit the collection of all and any non-operationally-required personal data, and further prohibit any analysis or derivation therefrom.
Facebook, Google and the rest then have to turn into "proper" suppliers and charge you a fee. You return to being a customer with rights and dignity and privacy. Competitors will suddenly be able to try and break into the market. And adverts will have to improve their game immeasurably as the throw-shit-at-the-wall approach will become impossible.
It should always have been this way.