- European users would have option to pay fee or agree to personalized ads, according to company’s pitch to regulators
- The pricing for mobile users will reportedly be higher than desktop users
Meta, the parent company of popular social media platforms Instagram and Facebook, is reportedly exploring the introduction of ad-free access in select countries, aimed at complying with stringent privacy regulations. This move would enable users to opt for a monthly subscription fee instead of encountering personalized advertisements based on their data.
Meta, which presently offers its core services free of charge across all regions, relies heavily on personalized ads to generate revenue. However, evolving privacy regulations are expected to impact the company’s advertising-driven income.
The Wall Street Journal has disclosed that Meta is considering charging users in the European Union (EU) a monthly fee of up to EUR 13 for access to an ad-free version of Instagram or Facebook on mobile devices. For users subscribing via a web browser, the monthly fee would be EUR 10, as Meta wouldn’t be subject to in-app purchase commissions levied by Apple or Google. Additionally, users seeking ad-free experiences for multiple accounts would be required to pay an extra EUR 6 for each additional account.
The proposal termed the “subscription no ads” plan (SNA), has been discussed with privacy watchdogs in Belgium and Ireland, and it’s set to be offered to European users. However, it’s worth noting that users in the United States and other regions may not have access to the ad-free plan anytime soon.
Meta’s existing services, including photo and video sharing, messaging, and social networking, are currently accessible without cost. These services are financially supported by targeted advertisements that leverage users’ personal data to tailor ad content. Nonetheless, recent EU regulations will necessitate Facebook and Instagram to provide users with the option to opt out of having their personal information used for targeted advertising.
Reports emerged last month suggesting that Meta was contemplating the introduction of paid versions of Instagram and Facebook, specifically tailored for EU users. In this model, users who opt not to subscribe would continue to encounter ads on the platforms. It’s worth mentioning that Meta has already faced fines in certain regions, such as Norway, for failing to adhere to privacy regulations and utilizing personal data to deliver targeted ads.
This move toward a subscription-based, ad-free offering demonstrates Meta’s response to evolving privacy concerns and regulatory pressures in the EU. As discussions continue, it will be interesting to see how users respond to the option of paying for an ad-free social media experience, and whether this approach will become more widespread in the future.