Meta offers to reduce Facebook and Instagram monthly fees by about 50% to address privacy and antitrust concerns

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is slashing its monthly subscription fee for ad-free versions of Facebook and Instagram in Europe by nearly half, dropping it from 9.99 euros to 5.99 euros, Meta senior Meta executive said on Tuesday. The move addresses mounting concerns from privacy advocates and antitrust regulators in Europe.

The price change comes in response to criticism surrounding Meta’s subscription service, launched in Europe last November, which some argue forces users to pay to safeguard their privacy.

Meta first announced its intention to introduce a new subscription model for European users in October. Initially priced at around $17 per month, the subscription service was introduced as part of Meta’s efforts to comply with evolving European regulations, notably the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which restricts the company’s ability to personalize ads without user consent.

Tim Lamb, a lawyer representing Meta, emphasized the company’s commitment to finding a balance between EU privacy laws and compliance with the DMA during a European Commission hearing, Reuters reported.

“We have wanted to accelerate that process for some time because we need to get to a steady state…so we have offered to drop the price from 9.99 to 5.99 for a single account and 4 euros for any additional accounts,” Lamb said. He underscored that this pricing adjustment represents the “lowest end of the range that any reasonable person should be paying for services of this quality,” Reuters reported as

The ongoing regulatory uncertainty surrounding Meta’s operations underscores the urgency for resolution. To address concerns, Meta has engaged in discussions with data protection authorities, particularly the Irish watchdog, to ensure compliance with the DMA and other relevant regulations.

Notably, users who consent to tracking will continue to access a free service funded by advertising revenues, while companies risk substantial fines for breaches of the DMA, potentially amounting to 10% of their annual global turnover.

The day-long hearing convened by the European Commission aims to provide Meta’s users and third parties with clarity regarding the company’s adherence to regulatory frameworks. Meta’s proactive steps in revising its subscription fee underscore its commitment to navigating the evolving regulatory landscape while maintaining user privacy and compliance with antitrust regulations.

Meta has traditionally centered its business on providing free social networking services supported by advertising. Offering a paid subscription tier reflects how companies like Meta are adjusting products to comply with data privacy regulations, especially in Europe.

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