Meta to start charging for ad-free versions of Facebook and Instagram in Europe

Just a month after Meta revealed its plan to charge European users approximately $17 per month for ad-free subscriptions to Instagram and Facebook, the social media giant announced today the introduction of an advertisement-free subscription option starting next month for individuals using Facebook or Instagram in Europe.

According to a statement released on Monday, Meta indicated that subscriptions for European users would be priced between 9.99 euros and 12.99 euros per month. The new fees will take effect in November. This new pricing model is aimed at complying with evolving European regulations and providing users with more control over their personal data and privacy. Concurrently, it presents a revenue-generating effort for Meta, which faces increased competition from emerging social media platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat.

The company added that it was complying with “evolving European regulations” in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. Users will have the choice to continue using Facebook or Instagram for free, supported by advertisements, or opt for a subscription to eliminate ads, starting in November.

“To comply with evolving European regulations, we are introducing a new subscription option in the EU, EEA and Switzerland….People in these countries will be able to subscribe for a fee to use our products without ads. Depending on where you purchase it will cost €9.99/month on the web or €12.99/month on iOS and Android. Regardless of where you purchase, the subscription will apply to all linked Facebook and Instagram accounts in a user’s Accounts Center,” Meta wrote.

“As is the case for many online subscriptions, the iOS and Android pricing take into account the fees that Apple and Google charge through respective purchasing policies. Until March 1, 2024, the initial subscription covers all linked accounts in a user’s Accounts Center. However, beginning March 1, 2024, an additional fee of €6/month on the web and €8/month on iOS and Android will apply for each additional account listed in a user’s Account Center,” the company added.

The subscription cost will vary, ranging from 9.99 euros per month ($10.58) on the web to 12.99 euros per month ($13.75) on iOS and Android devices, encompassing a user’s linked Facebook and Instagram accounts. From March 1, 2024, an additional fee of 6 euros per month for the web version and 8 euros per month for mobile access will apply for extra accounts.

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.

In a statement on Monday, Meta affirmed its commitment to safeguarding user information while supporting an “ad-supported internet” that tailors products and services to users while enabling small businesses to connect with potential customers.

“We respect the spirit and purpose of these evolving European regulations, and are committed to complying with them,” Meta said.

While this move aligns with EU regulations and grants users more control over their data and privacy, some critics are skeptical. They argue that Meta’s ad-free subscription might be a strategic way to continue collecting and leveraging user data. To them, the offering might simply provide users with an option to pay for ad-free content rather than a genuine choice to completely opt out of data collection.

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