Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is adapting to the EU’s strict ad privacy rules. Consequently, they’re introducing a subscription-based service for European users. This allows them to enjoy Facebook and Instagram without ads for a monthly fee.
The Subscription Tiers
Starting in November, Meta is launching subscription tiers for users in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. Users can pay for an ad-free experience. To be specific, the monthly fees start at €9.99 (around $10.50) for desktop accounts, and can rise to nearly $14 per month for mobile users. This increase is due to app store commissions.
Compliance with EU Regulations
These subscription tiers are a direct response to the EU’s strict regulations on personalized advertising. In fact, European regulators mandated that Meta must allow users to opt out of personalized ads based on their activity. Therefore, Meta’s approach is to offer an ad-free option for a fee. This approach effectively sidesteps personalized advertising.
A Potential Legal Challenge
However, this approach may be contentious. Privacy and media experts, as a result, suggest that charging users to opt out of targeted ads may not align with European privacy laws. Therefore, legal scrutiny is required to determine its compliance with EU privacy principles.
The Pressure on Personalized Advertising
The move towards ad-free subscriptions coincides with growing scrutiny of personalized advertising. For example, in 2021, Apple allowed users to opt out of ad-tracking. This, in turn, resulted in a claimed $10 billion revenue loss for Meta.
Meta’s introduction of ad-free subscriptions for European users is a direct response to evolving digital privacy regulations. However, while aimed at complying with EU ad rules, it may face challenges related to privacy laws and user consent. Consequently, the digital advertising landscape is changing. Meta’s approach, therefore, reflects efforts to adapt and provide users with options that respect their privacy. As a result, the impact of this subscription model on users and the digital advertising landscape will be closely monitored.