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  • Marijan Hassan - Tech Journalist

Meta considering offering a paid subscription for ad-free Facebook and Instagram

Reports indicate Meta may offer paid subscriptions for Facebook and Instagram in Europe, allowing users to access ad-free feeds. This move could help Meta address data privacy concerns raised by European regulators.

According to a popular news outlet, Meta is considering a subscription option for its social platforms to quell ongoing EU disputes around advertising practices and user data handling. Details like potential pricing or release timeline are unavailable, and Meta is yet to officially confirm the report.

In 2021, Ireland's Data Protection Commission levied a $1.3 billion fine against Meta for transferring European user data to the US in violation of GDPR rules.

Meta has begun allowing EU users to opt out of targeted advertising to ease regulatory scrutiny. Reports indicate the company proposed going further by shifting targeted ads to an opt-in model across Europe. Meta also delayed launching its Threads app in the region over data concerns.

The upcoming EU Digital Markets Act adds additional restrictions around reusing customer data that appear to worry Meta. A paid ad-free subscription could be Meta's strategy to monetize its European platforms without relying on contentious data-driven advertising.

However, launching a subscription service brings its own challenges. Meta would need to set pricing at levels that entice enough users to pay. Consumers may expect a discounted price, given Meta collects expansive personal data.

There are also questions around how a paid tier would impact data portability and interoperability with 3rd party services that integrate with Facebook and Instagram. Restricting functionality on unpaid accounts could draw regulatory pushback as well.

As conflicts heat up with EU authorities, Meta is clearly looking for solutions to ease data privacy concerns while still monetising its massive user base.


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