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31st Oct 2023

Facebook and Instagram users will have to pay monthly fee for ad-free access

Steve Hopkins

Some big changes are being made to both platforms

Instagram and Facebook users will have to pay a monthly fee to stop seeing advertisements.

Meta announced the monthly subscription fee in a blogpost explaining that the move was so the company would “comply with evolving European regulations”.

“We made that change to address a number of evolving and emerging regulatory requirements in the region,” Meta explained.

“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).”

Instagram and Facebook users in the EU, the EEA and Switzerland will be offered the option to pay a fee, said to be €12.99 a month, to go ad-free.

Starting in November, users on desktop browsers can pay €9.99 ($10.50) a month, while Apple iOS or Android users will pay roughly €12.99 (£11.35).

The higher prices reflect commissions charged by the Apple and Google app stores on in-app payments, the company said in its blogpost.

The fee, Meta said, will cover all linked Facebook and Instagram accounts until March. The social media giant will then start charging €6 for each additional account on the web and €8 for smartphones.

The European Union top court ruled that under EU data privacy rules, Meta cannot justify using personal details to target people with personalised ads unless it receives their consent first.

The company’s main revenue stream is through tailoring ads to users based on their online interests and behaviour online.

“We believe in an ad-supported internet, which gives people access to personalised products and services regardless of their economic status,” the blogpost from Meta reads.

The company added that it respected “the spirit and purpose of these evolving European regulations, and [we] are committed to complying with them”. Under the EU’s Digital Markets Act legislation, Meta platforms will have to gain explicit consent before tracking a user for advertising purposes.

The paid option “balances the requirements of European regulators while giving users choice and allowing Meta to continue serving all people”, the company’s statement reads.

European regulators are said to be looking at the charges to consider if they are too expensive.

Users in the impacted countries will still have the option to continue using Facebook and Instagram with ads.

The news comes after Elon Musk announced plans to make people pay to use X.

Related links:

Elon Musk wants everyone to pay for Twitter/X

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Elon Musk admits he had ex-girlfriend Amber Heard cosplay as video game character for him