Meta To Charge Instagram and Facebook Users For Ad-free Services

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Meta Platforms is planning to introduce subscription plans for ad-free services for Instagram and Facebook users in Europe.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the American multinational technology conglomerate will charge European users $14 monthly to use Instagram and Facebook without platform ads.

Wall Street Journal’s report also stated that Meta’s plans include charging European users approximately 10 euros ($10.46) monthly to subscribe for ad-free services on the desktop applications of Facebook and Instagram, with around 6 euros more for each additional account.

On the other hand, the subscription price would increase to around 13 euros per month on mobile devices. This jump in the price is due to Meta also including commissions charged by hosts like Apple’s and Google’s app stores on in-app payments.

Comparing Meta’s ad-free subscription plans to other platforms, Netflix charges its users 7.99 euros for a basic subscription plan; YouTube Premium’s users pay around 12 euros for ad-free services; Spotify’s premium plan stands at 11 euros.

According to Meta’s estimation, the company reported monthly 258 million Facebook users and 257 million Instagram users in the first six months of 2023.

In the past, EU regulations raised concerns regarding Meta promoting personalized ads for users without their consent, hurting the conglomerate’s major revenue source. With this decision, Meta attempts to comply with the European Union’s regulations.

Furthermore, Meta was given the status of ‘gatekeepers’ according to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act last month. Under this act, companies cannot combine personal data for users across different services, along with additional restrictions. EU has been imposing more stringent regulations on the big tech landscape to safeguard the privacy of European users using online platforms and encouraging competition in the technology industry dominated by US giants.

Per Wall Street Journal, Meta also notified regulators (privacy regulators in Ireland, digital competition regulators in Brussels, and other European Union privacy regulators) of its plans to introduce the subscription no ads (SNA) plan for European users in the coming months, allowing users to choose between accessing Facebook and Instagram with personalized ads or paying for subscription plans to use the applications without ads. However, it is unclear if regulators in Ireland and Brussels will view Meta’s new SNA plans as complying with the European Union’s regulations.

Ireland’s Data Privacy Commissioner charged Meta with a fine of 390 million euros earlier this year, informing the company it cannot use its “contract” as a legal reason to send personalized ads to users based on their online activities.

In response, the social media giant said it intended to ask European users for their consent before using their online behavior to allow businesses to send targeted ads in order to comply with the regulatory guidelines in the region.

A Meta spokesperson said the company believes in the “free services which are supported by personalized ads” approach. Still, it continues to explore new ways and plans to ensure compliance with the EU’s “evolving regulatory requirements.”

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