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Facebook, Instagram could start charging for ad-free services in EU

Personalised ads on the Meta-owned platforms are its core means of earning money.


Meta’s social networks are considering a charge of €13 (50 AED) a month for an ad-free version of Instagram or Facebook, according to media reports.

The fee would apply to users in the European Union (EU) and would be for mobile phone access. The fee would be €17 (65 AED) on a desktop.

In July, a ruling by the European Court of Justice stated that under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Facebook cannot justify using personal details to target people with personalised ads, unless it receives their consent first.

These personalised ads are the platform’s core means of earning money.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Meta’s ad-free plan is called SNA, which stands for subscription no ads.

It would give users the choice of continuing to access Facebook or Instagram for free with personalised ads or pay for ad-free versions.

A Meta spokesperson was quoted as saying it believes in the value of free services, but will continue to explore options to ensure it complies with regulatory requirements.

TikTok too?

Media reports have also suggested that TikTok is about to test a subscription to an ad-free service for $4.99 a month for users in an unnamed English-speaking market outside the US.

This year Meta moved into paid-for accounts by launching a subscription service that offered perks including a verified account and direct access to customer support, although it is not ad-free.

Comprehensive new laws have come into force across the EU to regulate the competitive practices of big tech companies like Meta and Google.

The use of personal data for targeted advertising is one the business models under the spotlight.

Under the EU’s Digital Markets Act legislation, Meta’s platforms will have to gain explicit consent before tracking a user for advertising purposes.

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