Facebook, Instagram rolling out paid subscriptions
October 30, 2023
Facebook and Instagram are launching subscription tiers across Europe (but not in the UK) that will remove adverts from the social media platforms.
From November, people using the platforms – which are both owned by Meta – will be able to pay €9.99 per month on the web or €12.99 per month on iOS and Android for an ad-free experience.
The subscription tiers will be exclusive to users in the EU, European Economic Area and Switzerland. The option only be accessible for people aged over 18.
Meta said its new subscription tier was about addressing EU concerns, rather than making money. In a blog post, the company explained:
We believe in an ad-supported internet, which gives people access to personalised products and services regardless of their economic status. It also allows small businesses to reach potential customers, grow their business and create new markets, driving growth in the European economy. And like other companies we’ll continue to advocate for an ad-supported internet, even with our new subscription offering in the EU, EEA and Switzerland. But we respect the spirit and purpose of these evolving European regulations, and are committed to complying with them.
We announced in August our intention to move people in the EU, EEA and Switzerland to the GDPR legal basis of “Consent” for the purpose of processing data collected on our own platforms for advertising purposes. We made that change to address a number of evolving and emerging regulatory requirements in the region. This includes how our lead data protection regulator in the EU, the Irish Data Protection Commission, is interpreting GDPR following a recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and anticipating the entry into force of the Digital Markets Act (DMA).
The option for people to purchase a subscription for no ads balances the requirements of European regulators while giving users choice and allowing Meta to continue serving all people in the EU, EEA and Switzerland. In its ruling, the CJEU expressly recognised that a subscription model, like the one we are announcing, is a valid form of consent for an ads funded service.
If you choose to continue to use our products for free, your experience will stay the same – and that experience will continue to be supported by the tools and settings that we have created to empower people to control their ads experience. These include Ad Preferences, which offers a range of controls that enable you to influence the ads you see as well as the data used to inform these ads, including activity information from ad partners. We also have tools in our product that explain ‘Why am I seeing this ad?’, as well as how people can manage their ad experience.
Meanwhile, advertisers will be able to continue running personalised advertising campaigns in Europe to reach those who choose to continue to receive a free, ad-supported online service. Going forward, we will continue to invest to build new tools that preserve the value that both people and businesses get out of personalised advertising, while allowing users to control their ads experience on our platforms. The subscription for no ads will be available for people aged 18 and up, and we’re continuing to explore how to provide teens with a useful and responsible ad experience given this evolving regulatory landscape.