Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is launching an ad-free subscription service in most of Europe. For €9.99 per month, users can enjoy an ad-free experience on these social media platforms, with this subscription not being available in the UK. This move comes after Meta faced a €390 million fine in January for breaching EU data rules related to advertisements.
The EU regulator’s penalty was imposed due to Meta’s approach of potentially “forcing consent” from users regarding their data’s usage or losing access to the platforms. In response to this, Meta is introducing the subscription tier, limited to users in the EU, European Economic Area, and Switzerland, starting in November. Initially, it will only be accessible to individuals over 18, and Meta is exploring ways to serve ads to young users in compliance with EU regulations.
Meta emphasises that this subscription model is aimed at addressing European regulatory concerns rather than being a profit-making endeavor. The company has expressed its commitment to complying with evolving European regulations and is supportive of an ad-supported internet that provides access to personalised services for users, regardless of their financial status.
Under this model, users can choose to continue using the platforms for free, allowing their data to be collected for targeted ads, or they can pay to opt out of such ads completely. However, there may be additional costs beyond the base monthly fee, with a €3 per month surcharge if the subscription is paid for through iOS or Android due to platform fees. Users can avoid this extra charge by subscribing via the Facebook and Instagram websites rather than the mobile apps.
Starting in March 2024, users will also need to pay more for additional accounts on these platforms, such as having both business and personal accounts. This move by Meta follows the introduction of Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) Premium+ service, priced at £16 per month, and the expansion of subscription options on various social media platforms aiming to cater to user preferences, ranging from ad-free experiences to enhanced features and editing capabilities.