Meta’s Facebook, Instagram Heading Toward Paid Plans in Europe

Meta paid plans in Europe
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Meta paid plans in Europe
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Photo Credit: Christian Dubovan

Meta is looking to introduce ad-free subscription plans for Facebook and Instagram users in Europe in a move to comply with European Union regulations surrounding its use of personalized ads.

Instagram and Facebook parent Meta is discussing the introduction of an ad-free subscription plan for users of both platforms, according to people close to the matter on Tuesday (October 3).

The plan will be implemented in the coming months, with a 10 euro ($10.49) a month plan looking “the most feasible.” For mobile devices, the price for a single account would become roughly 13 euros as Meta factors in app store commissions charged by Apple and Google.

The move is Meta’s attempt to comply with European Union regulations threatening its ability to personalize ads for users without their explicit consent — its most significant source of revenue.

The company received a fine of 390 million euros earlier in the year by Ireland’s Data Privacy Commission and told in no uncertain terms that it cannot use its so-called “contract” as a legal means to send users targeted ads. As a result, the company said it intended to ask European users for their consent before allowing businesses to target ads in order to comply with the shifting regulatory landscape.

Meta hopes that offering users a choice between a free, ad-supported plan and a paid subscription might entice many to opt for the former and help the company comply with EU regulations without hurting its ad business.

A spokesperson for Meta said the company still believes in “free services which are supported by personalized ads,” but is “exploring options to ensure we comply with evolving regulatory requirements.”

Artists all over the world take home a piece of the ad-revenue pie by ensuring their content is monetized across video sharing services. Rights management platform Identifyy (owned by HAAWK) helps artists license and monetize their music — collecting both advertising and subscription revenue from user generated content uploaded to Meta and YouTube.

But with so many streaming platforms implementing price hikes in recent months, will people be willing to pay over $10 a month in order to use Instagram or Facebook without ads? At least for the time being, users in the US shouldn’t expect to be offered to pay for ad-free Meta platforms any time soon, since the company’s proposals have been specifically designed to ease wrinkles presented by EU regulators.