Technology Meta will reportedly launch paid subscriptions for ad-free Facebook, Instagram in the European Union

Gandalf_The_Grey

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According to a New York Times report, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is considering launching paid subscription versions of its social media platforms that would not show users ads.

The ad-free options would only be available in the European Union (EU) and is likely a response to regulatory scrutiny and privacy concerns in the region. Sources familiar with Meta's plans said that users who pay for Facebook and Instagram subscriptions would not see any ads within the apps.

Meta will continue to offer free versions of Facebook and Instagram with ads in the EU, it said. It is unclear how much the paid versions of the apps would cost or when the company might launch them.

The move highlights how tech companies like Meta may need to redesign products to comply with new regulations, especially in Europe. Laws like the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Digital Markets Act limit how companies can use personal data for advertising.

Offering an ad-free paid option could help Meta address some of the regulatory concerns about its current business model, which relies on analyzing user data to target ads. However, it's uncertain how many users would actually pay for a subscription.

It is worth noting that Threads is not yet available in the EU due to the regulator's privacy concerns. Moreover, Meta took some action to prevent EU users from accessing its app via VPNs in July. The social media giant has not said when it plans to launch Threads in the EU, but the app may be available in the region later this year, especially with ad-free subscription.

Meta earns most of its revenue from selling targeted ads. European Union accounts for around 10% of the company's ad business, making it the second most lucrative region after North America.
 

Gandalf_The_Grey

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AdGuard Blog: The tide is turning: Facebook and Instagram to have paid ad-free options
Five years after then Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg hinted at a paid option to opt out of targeted ads, this feature is said to be finally coming to Facebook and Instagram users in the EU.

You may ask: what took Meta so long? Well, it’s not exactly that the company has been itching to introduce this option — rather, it’s been compelled to.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Meta is considering rolling out paid ad-free versions of Facebook and Instagram in the EU primarily to appease the bloc’s increasingly hawkish regulators. The latter have been out for big tech’s blood, including Meta’s, since 2018, when the EU’s landmark privacy law, GDPR, came into effect. The law gave EU users more power over how their personal information is used by tech giants. In an ideal world it would have required tech firms to receive users’ consent in every instance where they collect their data to make money from it by default. But reality isn’t that simple, so instead it’s been a slow push by regulators as Meta and co. have tried to wiggle their way out of this cat’s cradle. Below is a brief recap of how exactly Meta had tried to do so.
 

Gandalf_The_Grey

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Meta’s rumored astronomical fee for Instagram and Facebook in EU: greedy much or just not serious?
When reports first surfaced that Meta was launching paid ad-free tiers for Instagram and Facebook in the EU, we were skeptical, to say the least. As much as we wanted to, it was impossible to take the news of Meta’s paid offering at face value, given that ad tracking has always been at the heart of the company’s business model. At the time, we were still waiting for details on how much Meta would charge for the great privilege of watching user-generated content without interruptions. And while we were happy to be proven wrong, we also had a nagging feeling that Meta was not serious about giving users a real choice between seeing ads and paying a reasonable fee. Rather, we felt it was more of a token gesture to placate the increasingly aggressive (and rightly so) EU privacy regulators challenging its data-hungry practices.

With the new Wall Street Journal report revealing how much these ad-free subscription tiers could actually cost, we had far fewer doubts about whether Meta’s offer was genuine or not: it wasn’t. The prices are not cheap, in fact they are so high that it seems pretty obvious to us that Meta never intended to offer a fair deal to its users.

So let’s cut to the chase, and dive right into the numbers.
According to the report, Meta has informed the EU’s privacy watchdog in Ireland and digital competition regulators in Brussels that it wants to charge EU users a $10.5 (€10) monthly fee for using a single Facebook or Instagram account on desktop without ads. And if you want to use both Facebook and Instagram on your desktop (which would mean you’re in the absolute minority since only about 1.5% of people use Facebook on their desktop or laptop, while 98.5% use it on mobile devices), you’ll have to shell out extra $6.30 (€6) for an additional account. That means $17 to use both Instagram and Facebook on the desktop. However, if you’re more like the other 98.5% of people who prefer to use phones or tablets to access social media, you’ll have to fork over even more. On mobile, Meta reportedly plans to charge €13 per month ($13.6) for the ad-free access to one account, either Facebook or Instagram. And if we factor in an additional $6.30 (€6) for the remaining Instagram or Facebook account, the total comes to about $20 a month.
Now, imagine you’re one of those people who occasionally uses Facebook and Instagram on both desktop and mobile. Apparently, if you want to enjoy an ad-free experience across all your devices in the EU, you’re going to have to tighten your belt, because the total amount you’ll have to pay is going to be… €10 + €6 + €13 + €6 = €35 ($36.7).
 

TairikuOkami

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I've pretty much dumped Farcebook, since they banned me for the 3rd time this year.
I am trying to keep my head down, since FB is used by my colleagues, so I need it in order to stay in touch as we as for local news, but "friendly" people like to report me, even though I blocked several thousand people and pages to avoid just that. Last week FB sent me a warning about a post I made several years ago, that really took some persistence to dig it out. :LOL:
 
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Moonhorse

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Just got banned yesterday on instagram, lost access to all my pictures ( i have most of them in drive luckily) i was following my niece and commented her pictures like '' nice'' ''thumbs up'' and stuff like that

And then i get banned for '' making friends with childs to sexually harasment them, just because i followed her and had some direct messages with her wich is normal'

Like really? META? What is this nonsense? Also i got banned from tinder this week being underaged even im in my 30s soon....

Im not going to social media anymore, except having twitter/Reddit/MalwareTips accounts
 

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I was banned 3 times this year. One for a post over a year old that has appeared numerous times on Farcebook. The last for posting a comment that has also been on FB before, "Tell a lie often enough and the people will believe it." I don't think that's what got me. I think it's that I posted the name of the person who purportedly said it. Anyway, I've got GAB and MeWe to keep me busy. Unfortunately, all the people I deal with - relatives, friends, and decades old high school classmates- all are on FB and don't want to leave, because their relatives, friends, etc are on FB.

I also noticed my feed was being flooded with ads of all kinds, even down to toenail fungus. Some are obvious advertisements, some masquerade as posts. At least on GAB and MeWe, no ads yet, at least that I've noticed.
 
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Marko :)

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The only Meta product I use is the WhatsApp. Stopped using Facebook long time ago, never had an Instagram account. When I told my work colleagues I don't have Facebook and Instagram they were pleasantly surprised. Beside spying on me constantly, sucking the battery on my phone, what can those two offer me? Seeing posts of my friends I'm not interested?

Even at the time I had Facebook, I unfollowed all of my friends as I'm not interested in seeing their posts and statuses. Facebook served me only for chat, games and news snippets. I replaced chat with WhatsApp, games lost their charm on Facebook, and for news snippets I either visit local news sites or read the snippets on X (formerly Twitter). I had Twitter account for years, but only started actively using it after russia invaded Ukraine because news snippets don't take too much screen space and you can read them as they are posted, unlike on Facebook. But lately, I'm thinking of ditching X because it's turning into prorussian conspiracy theorist hub. Ever since Elon bought Twitter, everything is going downhill.
 

Chuck57

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I've had a Twitter account for years, but only check the site every few months. I've got a big mouth and can't keep anything short enough to fit in the space they give you. As for FB, what really, really offended me and made me start to look elsewhere was when I was talking to an Army buddy that I hadn't seen since Vietnam.

We were talking politics (as usual) and found several of our private chat posts blocked by FB (against community standards). They were monitoring our chats, or something connected to FB was. That doesn't happen on either GAB or MeWe where, allegedly, the private chats are end to end encrypted.
 
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Marko :)

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I've had a Twitter account for years, but only check the site every few months. I've got a big mouth and can't keep anything short enough to fit in the space they give you. As for FB, what really, really offended me and made me start to look elsewhere was when I was talking to an Army buddy that I hadn't seen since Vietnam.

We were talking politics (as usual) and found several of our private chat posts blocked by FB (against community standards). They were monitoring our chats, or something connected to FB was. That doesn't happen on either GAB or MeWe where, allegedly, the private chats are end to end encrypted.
That's the reason why I prefer WhatsApp for chat—it's end-to-end encrypted meaning they can't see the content of your messages or eavesdrop on your calls.

Facebook never had encrypted chat, their bots always checked user conversations. If you send a link to track visits, even before a person visits a link, it will immediately have a visit from Facebook bot. If you try to send a link to The Pirate Bay for example, it won't send it and will warn you about it. So annyoing!
 
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Chuck57

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And the day is coming that they'll want us to pay for the privilege of having our posts and chats monitored and regulated. Not me.

I don't know a thing about WhatsApp. Have to look into it. Thanks for mentioning it.
 
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monkeylove

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I think this will become the trend for various platforms, i.e., subscription with multiple services, e.g., social media, video and audio, financial services, commerce (retail and B2B), etc. That's the only way they can cover costs, make up for lack of advertising revenues, and minimize 'bots. Also, that allows them to deal with issues involving privacy required by various economic blocs and copyright.
 
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vtqhtr413

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Meta is starting to prompt users to sign up for the paid “no ads” version of Facebook and Instagram that’s launching in Europe. It’s rolling out as Meta responds to new EU privacy regulations by positioning the use of its services with targeted ads as a choice by users. Of course, that choice is also the only alternative available to paying around $20 per month to disengage from ads on Facebook and Instagram. The new prompt clarifies that people using both Facebook and Instagram will eventually need to pay an additional fee to cover both profiles.

The pop-up appeared on one of our editor’s Instagram accounts (and Matt Navarra mentions people are seeing them on Facebook as well), so you can see what it looks like right here. The fee to go ad-free is €9.99 per month when purchased on the web or €12.99 per month if purchased through Google’s or Apple’s app stores. Right now, that subscription fee covers all linked accounts. However, after March 1st, subscribers will have to pay an extra fee for any additional linked profiles in their Meta Account Center. It’s €6 per month if purchased directly or €8 if purchased via an app store. The ad-free service is only offered to users over the age of 18.
 

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