Meta has unveiled a subscription service in response to the European Union’s regulatory pressures that will allow users to experience Facebook and Instagram without ads. This service, slated for a November launch, is priced at €10 ($10.61) per month for web sign-ups and €13 ($13.79) for iOS and Android subscriptions, a pricing structure that reflects platform fees charged by Apple and Google.
Meta Launches Ad-Free Subscription in EU Amid Regulatory Changes
The subscription service signifies Meta‘s adherence to the “evolving European regulations,” such as the Digital Markets Act and the General Data Protection Regulation. This move is a pivot from the standard ad-funded social media model and comes as regulators in the EU have been urging Meta to obtain explicit user consent for targeted ads. The Court of Justice of the European Union supports this model as a legitimate means for users to consent to ad-supported services.
For Meta, this subscription is an attempt to balance regulatory compliance with offering users an alternative to ad-funded services. The new model will initially apply to all linked accounts in a user’s Account Center, with additional fees for each linked account starting March 1 next year.
The announcement is timely as Meta navigates the scrutiny of its ad practices and data collection in the EU, particularly concerning the handling of user data related to the Israel-Gaza conflict. In light of this, the subscription model presents a clear choice to users: pay for privacy or consent to ad targeting.
Meta insists on maintaining free access to its platforms, reiterating that the experience for non-paying users will remain unchanged. However, from November 6, the platform will temporarily stop showing ads to users under 18 in the regions where the subscription is available, while exploring ways to offer a responsible ad experience to teenage users in this changing regulatory landscape.
The subscription service, exclusive to those aged 18 and over, underlines Meta’s ongoing commitment to an ad-supported internet while navigating the demands of European data privacy laws. With the launch, Meta confronts the challenge of proving the viability of a dual revenue model in a market that increasingly values data privacy.