The Wall Street Journal reported that social media giant Meta could start charging its European users around USD 14 per month for an ad-free subscription to Instagram and Facebook. The report notes that Meta officials shared the plan privacy regulators in Ireland, digital competition regulators in Brussels, along with EU privacy regulators.
Meta had also been assigned the “gatekeeper” status under the European Union’s new Digital Markets Act last month. The act will not allow companies to combine personal data of users across their different services along with imposing other restrictions. The European Union is working to create stricter regulation of big tech companies in order to protect European online users and encourage competition in the US giants-dominated industry.
The Wall Street Journal report notes that Meta plans to charge European users about 10 euros, or USD 10.46, for a monthly subscription to Facebook or Instagram on desktop, with about USD 6 euros added for each additional account.
In addition, the subscription price would jump to roughly 13 euros per month on mobile devices because Meta will take into account commissions charged by Apple and Google app stores for in-app payments.
Meta told regulators that it plans to roll out its Subscription-Free Ads (SNA) plan to European users in the coming months, giving users the choice between continuing to access Facebook and Instagram with personalized ads or paying for its services without ads. However, it isn't clear if regulators in Ireland or Brussels will consider Meta's new SNA plan to comply with EU regulations, the outlet noted.
A Meta spokesperson quoted WSJ as saying that the company believes in free services which are supported by personalized ads, but is open to exploring options to meet "evolving regulatory requirements."
According to Meta estimates, the company had about 258 million monthly Facebook users and 257 million Instagram users during the first half of 2023.
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