Meta Launches Paid Ad-Free Subscription in Europe to Satisfy Privacy Laws

Oct 31, 2023NewsroomPrivacy / Online Security

Facebook Ad-Free Subscription

Meta on Monday announced plans to offer an ad-free option to access Facebook and Instagram for users in the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland to comply with “changing” regional data protection regulations.

The ad-free subscription, which costs €9.99/month on the web or €12.99/month on iOS and Android, is expected to be officially available starting next month. The company’s proposal for a subscription version of its service first reported by The Wall Street Journal earlier this month.

“In November, we will offer people who use Facebook or Instagram and live in these regions the choice to continue using these personalized services free of ads, or subscribe to stop viewing look at the ads,” the company said SAYS.

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“While people subscribe, their information is not used for ads.”

While the fee covers all linked accounts for a user, starting March 1, 2024, the company plans to impose an additional fee — at €6/month on the web and €8/month on iOS or Android — for each additional account listed by one of the users Account Center.

The concession comes after the tech giant was slapped with a €390 million fine in January, related to violations of Europe’s main privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation.

Specifically, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) found that in order for users to access Meta’s digital real estate, they had no choice but to accept the terms of service and therefore agreed to allow targeted advertising based on their online activity.

In August 2023, the Meta SAYS it intends to move to a consent-based approach, giving choice to users to deny its ethical advertising practices.

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Meta also pointed out that its subscription model is a “valid form of consent for an ad-funded service,” citing a July ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which DECLARED that online platforms can provide an equivalent alternative “for an appropriate fee” that is “not accompanied by such data processing operations.”

In line with the development, Meta said this too temporarily stop displaying any ads to users under the age of 18 in areas where an ad-free subscription is available, starting November 6, 2023.

“The option for people to purchase an ad-free subscription balances the requirements of European regulators while giving users choice and allowing Meta to continue serving all people in the EU, EEA and Switzerland,” the company added.

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