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Meta May Charge €10 per Month to EU Users for Ad-Free Instagram and Facebook

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Photo: Meta May Charge €10 per Month to EU Users for Ad-Free Instagram and Facebook. Source: Collage The Gaze\by Leonid Lukashenko
Photo: Meta May Charge €10 per Month to EU Users for Ad-Free Instagram and Facebook. Source: Collage The Gaze\by Leonid Lukashenko

Meta is considering introducing a paid subscription for Facebook and Instagram for European users, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal.

This plan was presented by the company to the Irish Data Protection Commission and European regulators in Brussels in September. By giving users the choice between continuing to use Instagram and Facebook for free but with personalized ads or paying for an ad-free experience, Meta is aiming to ensure compliance with European data protection regulations and digital services laws.

Under Meta's plan presented to European regulators, access to a single Facebook or Instagram account on the web version would cost around €10 per month, with roughly €6 for each additional linked account. For mobile devices, the subscription fee is expected to be set at approximately €13 per month.

The introduction of a paid subscription could mark a significant shift for the company. Meta's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has long argued that its core services should remain free and supported by advertising to make them accessible to people of all income levels. "You don't need thousands of dollars to connect with people using our services," Zuckerberg stated at a conference in 2018.

However, against the backdrop of the trend toward subscriptions in platforms like Snapchat and X, Meta introduced a paid service earlier this year, Meta Verified, which costs $14.99 (€10.5) per month.

Currently, it is unclear whether regulators in Ireland and Brussels will deem this plan compliant with EU legislation or insist that Meta offer cheaper or even free versions of the apps with non-personalized advertising that doesn't rely on user digital activity.

Meta was fined 390 million euros earlier this year by Ireland's Data Privacy Commissioner, and told it cannot use the so-called "contract" as a legal basis to send users ads based on their online activity.

As previously reported by The Gaze, Meta plans to begin testing a new artificial intelligence system known as the Large Language Model in early 2024. These undisclosed intentions are part of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's efforts to establish Meta as a leading player in the world of artificial intelligence.

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