Meta Platforms Inc. is introducing ad-free access to Facebook and Instagram in Europe through a subscription model as a response to increasing data protection regulations. Starting in November, users will have the option to subscribe to these social media platforms for €9.99 ($10.57) per month on the web or €12.99 per month through Apple Inc.’s and Android’s mobile operating systems. This service will be available to residents in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
The move comes in light of growing scrutiny and legal actions regarding data privacy and user data handling by social media companies in Europe. Meta’s decision is particularly influenced by a ruling from the EU Court of Justice in July, which suggested that companies should consider offering alternatives for users who prefer not to have their data collected and shared with advertisers, provided that such alternatives come at a reasonable fee.
In a company statement, Meta emphasized its continued support for an ad-supported internet, even with the introduction of subscription services in these regions. They affirmed their commitment to comply with the evolving European regulations while respecting their intent and purpose.
Meta’s stock showed a positive response to this announcement, with shares rising as much as 1.9% to $302.40 in premarket trading before the New York exchanges opened on Monday, following a close at $296.73 on the previous Friday. The company has plans to maintain ad-supported services in these markets without extra charges.
It is worth noting that, starting in March, Meta will implement an additional charge for each extra account, amounting to €6 per month on the web and €8 per month for mobile users. This decision is part of the company’s strategy to adapt to the evolving regulatory landscape in Europe.
Several major technology companies are making adjustments to their services in Europe to comply with the increasing scrutiny of regulatory authorities. The European Union, in particular, has been imposing substantial fines on companies for breaching data protection rules and is introducing new regulations related to competition and content moderation.
In a related development, Meta decided not to introduce its Threads platform, designed to rival X, in the EU due to concerns regarding compliance with the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which prohibits major tech companies from sharing data between their services.
Meta Platforms Inc. has incorporated the new European subscription model into its most recent business forecasts and guidance, indicating its commitment to navigate the changing landscape of data protection and user privacy regulations in the region.