Meta introduces ad-free plans for Instagram, Facebook in Europe including Greece

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Meta is introducing a subscription-based offering that enables users to eliminate ads on Facebook and Instagram. The service is accessible across the European Union, with pricing set at approximately €9.99 per month on the web, and €12.99 per month on iOS and Android to accommodate supplementary platform fees.

The subscription is meant to address concerns by the European Union about Meta’s ad targeting and data collection practices. By making users choose between paying for the service to remove ad targeting or using the service for free but consenting to its data collection practices, Meta believes it will have more clearly and definitively met privacy requirements set by a collection of European data laws, including the Digital Markets Act and GDPR.

Free access (with ads) will remain available

“We respect the spirit and purpose of these evolving European regulations, and are committed to complying with them,” Meta writes in a blog post announcing the new subscription.

Meta says it will continue to offer free access to its products for people who do not wish to pay. The company says the experience for nonpaying users will not change, and its existing ad preference tools will remain available.

The ad-free subscription will only be available to people 18 and older in the EU, EEA, and Switzerland. It will initially apply across all linked Facebook and Instagram accounts, but Meta will eventually charge extra for linked accounts. Starting March 1st, 2024, there will be an additional fee of €6 on the web or €8 on iOS and Android per linked account. The company says that as long as someone remains subscribed, their data will not be used for ad targeting.

The tone of Meta’s announcement makes it clear that the company is still prioritizing the ad-supported business that its platforms are built upon. The service will only be launched in areas with strict protections around consumers’ data, and even then, it will only be an optional purchase. The company writes in its blog post that it “believe in an ad-supported internet” and frames the new subscription exclusively as a product derived to meet European regulations.

Still, it’s a product that many have been asking for. Facebook’s products track you across the internet and then target ads based on your behavior. Now, we’ll see how many people are really willing to pay to escape its gaze — and the nuisance of nonstop ads in their Instagram feed.

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