Meta will introduce a new subscription option to users in the EU, EEA and Switzerland in November as part of efforts to appease European regulators over privacy rules.
Users in the region will soon have the option of the standard free platform with personalised ads - with Meta able to collect their personal data - or pay a subscription to remove ads entirely. The latter will mean their information is not used for any ad.
The new subscriptions will cost €9.99 per month when paid through the web, or €12.99 per month through the App Store and Google Play - a price difference owing to Apple and Google’s 30% revenue share.
From March 1, 2024, users will be required to pay a further €6 per month on the web, and €8 per month on iOS and Android, for each additional account they have on the platform. This could include having both a business and personal account, for example.
The subscription service will only be available to users ages 18 and over.
Meta was fined €390 million by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) in January for breaching EU privacy laws around targeted ads. The EU regulator claimed at the time that Meta had “forced consent” from users to provide their personal data.
Meta said the new subscription offering “balances the requirements of European regulators while giving users choice”. It also noted that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) had previously "expressly recognised" that a subscription model is a "valid form of consent for an ads funded service".
It remains to be seen whether any significant number of users will adopt an subscription package for a service they already get for free.
Meta’s move follows a larger trend of previously free social media platforms experimenting with subscriptions. X, formerly Twitter, began charging for ‘premium’ services earlier this year - including the recent ad-free Premium+ tier - while TikTok is also experimenting with an ad-free subscription.
Though Meta remains a key ad network for mobile games publishers, it has taken a series of blows to its business as regulators and platform holders tighten privacy rules. Apple’s ATT policy has shaken the duopoly of Google Ads and Meta Ads on iOS.
AppsFlyer noted in its most recent Performance Index that while the two networks remain the top media sources on Android, Meta “lost a significant share of its iOS install market share” due to the changes.
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