Meta will start charging users in Europe for ad-free subscriptions on Facebook and Instagram starting next month, the company announced Monday, after previous reports indicated Meta would become the latest social media firm to offer a subscription plan.
- Facebook and Instagram users in the European Union, the European Economic Area—Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway—and Switzerland will be offered ad-free subscriptions between 10 euros ($10.60) per month for ad-free desktop access or 13 euros ($13.78) per month for mobile access, Meta said Monday.
- Subscription fees will cover all accounts under one user until March, when an additional 6 euros and 8 euros will be charged for web access and mobile access for additional accounts, respectively, the company said.
- A subscription will only be available for users aged 18 or older and Meta said it is exploring “how to provide teens with a useful and responsible ad experience given this evolving regulatory landscape.”
- Meta said a decision to offer an ad-free subscription follows a ruling by the EU’s Court of Justice, which said in July that Meta would need consent before offering its users personalized ads.
- An option to purchase an ad-free subscription is a “valid form of consent” and “balances the requirements of European regulators,” Meta said.
- Advertisers will still run personalized advertisements through Meta’s ad-supported service on Facebook and Instagram, the company said, though subscription-free users will be able to “influence the ads you see as well as the data used to inform these ads.”
258 million. That’s how many people in the EU use Facebook each month, according to Meta’s estimates. About 257 million people use Instagram each month.
European advertisers make up between 21% and 25% of Meta’s global ad revenue each month, according to Reuters.
X, formerly known as Twitter, announced two new tiers of Premium subscriptions last week, including a Premium+ option for $16 a month that eliminates ads in For You and Following. The company will also launch a Basic tier for $3 a month, which provides subscribers with some Premium features, like editing posts. Elon Musk, who purchased the social media platform last year, said last month that X’s advertising revenue was down 60%. TikTok is also testing an ad-free subscription for $4.99, according to the BBC, which reported the subscription would be tested in an English-speaking market outside of the U.S.
Meta officials reportedly told European regulators about its ad-free subscription plan earlier this month, according to the Wall Street Journal, after new EU regulations banned personalized ads without user consent. Regulators questioned whether the subscription plan was too expensive to ensure user data isn’t used for advertising purposes, according to the Journal, though Meta said it was a “reasonable fee.” Meta also said the subscription would match the estimated $17.88 per Facebook user the company would lose under the new regulations.
This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.