Meta Platforms intends to offer ad-free access to Facebook and Instagram through subscription services in Europe as a response to increasing regulations concerning user data collection and usage in the region. Starting in November, users can subscribe to these social media platforms for €9.99 per month on the web or €12.99 per month on mobile devices using Apple’s and Android’s operating systems. These subscription services will be available to users in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
The move comes after European courts started cracking down on how social media companies handle user data. Meta cited the EU Court of Justice’s decision in July, which suggested that businesses should provide an alternative service for users who do not want their data collected and sold to advertisers for an appropriate fee.
Meta stated, “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.”
While the subscription fees will initially cover all of a user’s accounts, additional charges will apply starting in March, with €6 per month on the web and €8 per month on mobile devices for each additional account.
The Data Protection Commission in Ireland, responsible for Meta in the EU, is still evaluating whether this move complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Meta is one of several big tech companies adapting its European products to align with regulatory scrutiny and comply with data protection and competition rules. The company also decided not to launch its Threads rival, X, in the EU due to concerns about adhering to the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which restricts major tech companies from sharing data between services.
Meta has integrated the new European subscription model into its recent business outlook and guidance.