Can you imagine paying fees to use the Facebook and Instagram applications on your phone or computer, without ads?
This is what Meta plans to do with its European users in the event that the European Union does not agree to allow the company to use their digital activity to display personalized ads to users without first obtaining user consent, which would put its main source of revenue at risk.
Meta officials detailed the plan in meetings held last September with privacy regulators in Ireland and digital competition regulators in Brussels.
The plan has been shared with other EU privacy regulators to get their input as well, according to an exclusive Wall Street Journal report.
Do not subscribe to advertisements
Meta told regulators that it hopes to roll out the plan, which it calls SNA, or opt-out of ads, in the coming months to European users.
According to insiders, the proposal offers users a clear choice: continue accessing Instagram and Facebook for free, but with personalized ads, or opt for ad-free versions of the services at a cost.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Meta has reportedly informed regulators of its pricing plan. Users would be charged approximately 10 euros per month, which is roughly equivalent to $10.50, to access the two apps on a computer. Additionally, each additional linked account would incur a fee of about 6 euros.
On mobile devices, the price will jump to approximately 13 euros per month because Meta will take into account the commissions charged by the Apple and Google app stores on in-app payments.
Meta estimates that it will have 258 million monthly Facebook users and 257 million Instagram users for the first half of the year in the European Union, according to data it publishes under the bloc’s content moderation law. The company said in a US securities filing that it had 3.88 billion monthly active people on its applications as of last June 30.
It also pushed for the subscription service by tightening enforcement of European Union rules, and a July decision by the bloc’s top court ruled that Meta would need approval for certain types of targeted advertising based on users’ online activity.
This led to Irish privacy regulators telling Meta that it had to change its practices.
While Meta pointed to a paragraph in the European Union Court decision issued in July that states that social media companies can impose “reasonable fees” on users who refuse to allow their data to be used for certain purposes of targeting ads, saying that this opens the door to Subscription service.