In a bold response to evolving regulatory landscapes and changing user preferences, Meta is reportedly considering the introduction of a monthly subscription fee for an ad-free experience on its social media platforms, Instagram and Facebook.
According to sources cited by the Wall Street Journal, European users could be charged approximately $14 (approximately Rs 1,165) per month for this premium offering. However, there is currently no information regarding the potential extension of this subscription fee model to Asian markets, such as India. It remains a speculative possibility that the Indian government might follow suit in the future, pending the approval of this subscription fee in Europe for privacy reasons.
Meta has disclosed this prospective move to privacy regulators in Ireland, digital competition authorities in Brussels, and European Union privacy regulators. This strategic decision by Meta comes as it has been designated a ‘gatekeeper’ under the EU’s new Digital Markets Act, aimed at curbing the influence of tech giants. Among its provisions, this legislation restricts companies from amalgamating users’ personal data across their different services while imposing additional constraints.
The European Union has been actively pursuing stricter regulations for major tech corporations, with the primary objective of safeguarding the online rights of European users and promoting competition in an industry dominated by American tech giants.
As per the reports, Meta is contemplating a monthly subscription fee of approximately 10 euros (equivalent to $10.46) for users who wish to access Facebook or Instagram without encountering advertisements on desktop devices. Users with multiple accounts may incur an additional fee of roughly 6 euros per account. However, for mobile device users, the subscription cost could be around 13 euros per month, factoring in the commissions levied by Apple’s and Google’s app stores on in-app transactions, which Meta intends to absorb.
Meta has informed regulators of its intentions to introduce the subscription plan, dubbed the “no ads” or SNA plan, for European users in the forthcoming months. This move will provide users with the choice to continue using Facebook and Instagram with personalized advertisements or opt for an ad-free experience by subscribing to the service. The compliance of Meta’s SNA plan with EU regulations remains uncertain and will be subject to the evaluation of regulators in Ireland and Brussels, according to sources.
Responding to inquiries, a Meta spokesperson emphasized the company’s commitment to offering free services supported by personalized ads while expressing openness to exploring options that align with “evolving regulatory requirements.”