Meta introduces subscription for ad-free Facebook and Instagram
Tech giant Meta has announced that it will launch an ad-free, paid version of Facebook and Instagram. The change is thanks to a ruling by the European Court of Justice.
Meta launches Facebook and Instagram subscriptions
From November, Facebook and Instagram users will be able to opt for an ad-free version of the two Meta-run platforms, the international company has announced.
Android and iOS users can pay 12,99 euros a month for ad-free access on their mobile phones or 9,99 euros for access on a desktop. This new fee will let users pay once to use all of their Meta-provided accounts without ads, until March 2024, when the US company will start charging users 6 euros for each additional account on desktops and 8 euros on smartphones.
The new option will be available to anyone living in the EU, EAA or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein from November, though no specific date has been announced.
Ad-free account launch follows ECJ ruling
The announcement follows a ruling by the European Court of Justice that, in order to comply with EU data privacy laws, Meta must gain explicit consent from users before it can justify using their personal information to target people with personalised ads - which make up Meta's main source of income.
The reason the new ad-free option works to circumvent the rules is that if Meta offers people the option to use the site without ads, and they choose to do without the service, that is enough to constitute their consent.
“We believe in an ad-supported internet, which gives people access to personalised products and services regardless of their economic status,” the company wrote in a blog post, adding that it, “respect[ed] the spirit and purpose of these evolving European regulations, and [is] committed to complying with them”.
For some, the new ruling is not enough. “Fundamental rights cannot be for sale,” Austrian lawyer and campaigner against Facebook's data privacy violations, Max Schrems, said in response to the ad-free option launch. The ECJ has now said that it is also looking into whether the new fees are too expensive for those who do not want their data to be monetised.
In the meantime, Meta will stop showing ads to children and teenagers in Europe, since the new policy is applicable to people over 18. Meta’s statement said that the company is looking for ways to “provide teens with a useful and responsible ad experience” while complying with the new law.
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