Meta Touts Monthly Charge For Ad-Free Facebook, Instagram – Report

Meta Platforms is reportedly considering charging users in the European Union a monthly subscription fee for ad-free access to Instagram or Facebook on their phones.

Reuters, quoting two people familiar with the matter, revealed several pricing plans are being discussed, but the 10 euro ($10.49) per month plan is the most feasible, one of them said, while the other source said it will be implemented in the coming months. That price may rise for mobile users to 13 euros (£11.27) per month due to app store fees.

Facebook (as it was back then) actually began offering advertising capabilities way back in 2007 when it launched its Facebook Ads platform.

Image credit: Pexels

Ad-free charges

But the firm actually introduced adverts into people’s Facebook newsfeeds back in 2012 – a move that proved to be unpopular, and many Facebook users remain unhappy about the development.

However for a number of years now Meta has been considering an advert free version paid by subscriptions.

Indeed CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared to hint at such a possibility when he was grilled for two days by various US Congress committee’s in April 2018 about the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal.

Meta, it should be remembered, makes the vast majority of its revenues from advertising.

Into this comes the report from Reuters, which states that besides the 10 euro (£8.67) per month fee plan for ad-free content on mobile devices, Meta is also weighing a €17 (£14.74) monthly charge to use Instagram and Facebook without adverts on desktop.

Accessing both apps on smartphones would cost about €19 (£16.48) a month, Reuters reported.

Why now?

But if the report pans out, it beggars the question “why now?”

Well it seems proposal is an attempt by Meta to comply with European Union regulations. Under the EU’s Digital Markets Act legislation, Meta’s social networking platforms has to gain explicit consent before tracking a user for advertising purposes.

Offering a choice between a free, ad-supported plan and a paid subscription might lead to users opting for the former, helping Meta comply with regulations without affecting its ad business, the Reuters report suggested.

Meta is reportedly discussing its plans with Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which regulates the business across the EU because Meta’s international HQ is in Dublin, and with European officials.

Meta in January 2023 had been hit with a €390m (£343m) fine from Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC), after an EU ruling that Meta’s legal justification for targeting users with personalised ads broke EU data laws.

The European court of justice, the highest in the European Union, ruled in July that under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Facebook cannot justify using personal details to target people with personalised ads unless it receives their consent first.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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