Meta is planning to charge $14 a month for ad-free Facebook and Instagram subscriptions in Europe.
Should EU users opt out of paying a monthly fee, they must consent to the platform tracking their digital activity for the purpose of targeted advertising, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Why we care. The popularity of subscriptions could significantly impact the number of people seeing ads on Instagram and Facebook, which may mean some advertisers need to re-evaluate their strategies and invest in alternative platforms. A big factor that could influence uptake is cost – and $14 a month may seem pretty expensive to users who have historically been able to use these apps for free.
Why now? A paid-for ad-free Meta subscription was proposed by the company in response to the European Union’s Digital Services Act, which comes into effect on 1 January 2024. The new rules will limit the ability of platforms to serve personalized ads without seeking consent first – which could have a major on businesses like Meta that rely heavily on advertising revenue.
What has Meta said? Meta is yet to make an official statement on paid-for versions of Facebook and Instagram. However, the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted back in 2018 when he appeared before the US Senate that such a product could be on the horizon. When asked if Facebook woul dever roll out ad-free subscriptions, he said:
“There will always be a version of Facebook that is free.“
Meta COO, Sheryl Sandberg, then added:
“We have different forms of opt-out. We don’t have an opt-out at the highest level. That would be a paid product.”
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Deep dive. Read Meta’s statement on the DSA, issued by Nick Clegg, President, Global Affairs, for more information.
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