Meta is considering charging European users a monthly subscription if they opt out of personalized ads. This move is largely in response to the EU's stringent privacy laws.
Last month, in a series of meetings with regulators in Ireland and Brussels, Meta delved deeper into this proposal. In essence, users will have the option to stick with the ad-supported free version of Instagram and Facebook or pay a monthly fee for an ad-free experience.
For a single account on a desktop, Meta is proposing a charge of €10 a month. For mobile access, this price rises to €13 a month, primarily due to commissions owed to the Apple and Google app stores, according to WSJ.
This proposition marks a notable shift in Meta's approach. Mark Zuckerberg, the company's CEO, has historically championed the idea of keeping core services free and accessible, financed through ad revenues.
The introduction of this subscription model comes as European regulators press for clearer, more upfront user consent for personalized ads, particularly those curated based on online activity. Considering Meta isn't facing similar hurdles in other regions, it's unlikely this subscription will see a global rollout in the near future.
There's some debate over the pricing of Meta’s ad-free subscription. Critics believe it might be too pricey for many, leaving it uncertain whether EU regulators will greenlight Meta's plan or push for a cheaper alternative.
Interestingly, the proposed $14 monthly fee is somewhat lower than the approximate $18 that Facebook currently nets per user in Europe from advertising revenues.
It's worth noting that Meta isn't pioneering this model. For instance, Spotify provides both an ad-inclusive free version and a premium, ad-free subscription. Meta's proposed mobile pricing also aligns with what YouTube charges for its premium ad-free service in Europe.