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Meta's Latest Strategy: European Union Users Could Be Charged $14 per Month for Ad-Free Access to Facebook and Instagram or Opt for Behavioral Ads


Meta is considering a strategy that may require European Union users to pay around $14 per month to access Facebook and Instagram without ads, or they can choose to use the free versions with personalized ads. This move is in response to EU regulations that could limit Meta's ability to display targeted ads without user consent, which is a significant source of its revenue.

Executives from Meta discussed this plan with privacy regulators in Ireland and digital competition regulators in Brussels in meetings held in September. They also sought input from other EU privacy regulators. The proposal gives users the option to either continue using Facebook and Instagram for free with personalized ads or pay for ad-free versions of the services.

Under this plan, Meta would charge approximately €10 per month for a Facebook or Instagram account on computers and about €6 for each additional linked account. On mobile devices, the price for a single account would be around €13, accounting for commissions imposed by Apple and Google's app stores on in-app payments.

Earlier this year, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner fined Meta €390 million and prohibited it from using the old method of transferring data for targeted ads based on users' online activity. Meta later expressed its intention to obtain user consent in the EU before delivering ads to comply with evolving regulations in the region.

Meta has now informed European regulators that it intends to introduce the ad-free plan, referred to as the Subscription without Ads (SNA), to European users in the coming months. A Meta spokesperson stated that the company believes in offering free services supported by personalized ads while exploring options to ensure compliance with changing regulatory requirements.

Last month, The New York Times reported that Meta was considering offering ad-free versions of its apps for a fee to EU users, though specific cost details were not provided. It is still uncertain whether regulators in Ireland or Brussels will approve the new plan as compliant with EU laws or if they will insist on Meta providing personalized or free versions with non-targeted ads based on users' online behavior.