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Meta explores ad-free subscription option for Instagram and Facebook

This move is being explored as a means of compliance with regulatory scrutiny and privacy framework in Europe.
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Published onOctober 3, 2023

Facebook stock photo 13
TL;DR
  • Meta is proposing to EU regulators an option for an ad-free subscription for Instagram and Facebook.
  • For roughly €10 (~$10.5), users in the EU could use one account on a desktop without personalized ads, with €6 (~$6.3) extra for each additional linked account and another 30% app store commission on mobile.
  • These plans are unlikely to be made available to users in other regions.

Facebook and Instagram have been a crucial part of people’s lives for quite some time now. Facebook popularized the whole concept of social media, getting people attuned to sharing their lives with the public. The platforms have remained free for users, thriving on personalized ads instead. But what if you could pay to remove these ads on Instagram and Facebook? That’s an idea that Meta is playing around with, according to a report.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, Meta, has proposed to regulators a monthly subscription for users in Europe that will deliver an ad-free experience. In the alternative, users can use the apps for free if they agree to be served with personalized ads.

Meta is proposing a roughly €10 (~$10.5) monthly fee for using a Facebook or Instagram account on desktop and about €6 (~$6.3) for each additional linked account. On mobile, the starting price would jump to €13 (~$13.6) to accommodate the commissions charged by Apple and Google’s mobile stores on iOS and Android, respectively.

The plans are labeled as SNA (Subscription No Ads) and have been shared with EU’s privacy regulators for their input. Depending on feedback from these regulatory authorities, Meta plans to roll out these plans in the coming months for European users.

The choice would be with users: Either pay to use ad-free Instagram and Facebook or use the platforms for free but have their activity tracked to be able to serve personalized ads. For users who do not want to pay and do not want to part with their data, the smarter choice would be to deactivate their Facebook account or explore alternative platforms.

Would you pay a monthly fee to use ad-free Instagram or Facebook?

55 votes

These plans are unlikely to be available in other regions, such as the US. Meta’s proposal is pitched specifically to navigate around the privacy-centric demands of EU regulators. Regulators in Europe have demanded that services and platforms seek user consent before collecting data to personalize ads and give them the option to opt-out.

It isn’t immediately clear if these proposed plans meet all of the regulations’ demands. However, a preliminary reading of the EU’s Digital Markets Act would indicate that a user who opts out should still be allowed to use the service. Meta is banking on a recent EU court decision that said social media companies “could charge a reasonable fee” to users who decline to let their data be used for specific ad-targeting purposes.