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Facebook and Instagram to get ad-free subscription plans in Europe

Facebook and Instagram to get ad-free subscription plans in Europe

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You will soon be able to pay for a new ad-free subscription option on Facebook and Instagram in the European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland as they look to comply with evolving European regulations, according to Meta in a statement. 

From November, users in these regions will be able to choose between continuing to use Facebook and Instagram for free with ads or to subscribe to stop seeing ads.  While people are subscribed, their information will not be used for ads. 

Don't miss: TikTok to remove personalised algorithm in EU: Could it sully the name of targeted ads?

Depending on where one purchases the subscription plan, it will cost about USD10.60 per month on the web or USD13.80 per month on iOS and Android.

Regardless of where you purchase though, the subscription will apply to all linked Facebook and Instagram accounts in a user’s accounts center, it said.

It added that the iOS and Android pricing take into account the fees that Apple and Google charge through respective purchasing policies.

Until March 1, 2024, the initial subscription cost will cover all linked accounts in a user’s accounts center. However, beginning March 1, 2024, an additional fee of about USD6.40 per month on the web and USD8.50 per month on iOS and Android will apply for each additional account listed in a user’s account center.

Meta explained that it is making this change because it believes in an ad-supported internet, which gives people access to personalised products and services regardless of their economic status.

It also allows small businesses to reach potential customers, grow their business and create new markets, driving growth in the European economy, it said.

"And like other companies we’ll continue to advocate for an ad-supported internet, even with our new subscription offering in the EU, EEA and Switzerland. But we respect the spirit and purpose of these evolving European regulations, and are committed to complying with them," Meta added.

In August this year, Meta revealed that it would move people in the EU, EEA and Switzerland to the GDPR legal basis of “Consent” for the purpose of processing data collected on its own platforms for advertising purposes.

It made that change to address a number of evolving and emerging regulatory requirements in the region.

The option for people to purchase a subscription for no ads balances the requirements of European regulators while giving users choice and allowing Meta to continue serving all people in the EU, EEA and Switzerland, it said.

Users who wish to use Instagram and Facebook for free will not experience any change in their experience but will continue to be able to control their ads experience with existing ad controls. 

Advertisers will also be able to continue running personalised advertising campaigns in Europe to reach those who choose to continue to receive a free, ad-supported online service. 

"Going forward, we will continue to invest to build new tools that preserve the value that both people and businesses get out of personalised advertising, while allowing users to control their ads experience on our platforms," it said.

The updates come as more platforms update their ad controls to adhere to evolving EU rules. In August this year, Google expands its ads transparency centre to adhere to EU rules It said that it will be expanding its ad transparency centre, which is its global searchable repository of advertisers across all its platforms. It will also be expanding its data access for researchers by building on its prior efforts to help advance public understanding of its services.

"We will increase data access for researchers looking to understand more about how Google Search, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Play and Shopping work in practice, and conducting research related to understanding systemic content risks in the EU,” said Google’s VP of trust and safety, Laurie Richardson and YouTube’s VP of product management, Jennifer Flannery O’Connor in a statement.  

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