Ad-free Facebook and Instagram plans were just announced, but only in Europe

After a report said Meta was planning to release ad-free Facebook and Instagram subscriptions to Europe early this month, Meta announced this service is launching in November – but, of course, it will be for European users only.

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According to a blog post, users will be able to subscribe to both Facebook and Instagram for €9.99/month or €12.99/month via Apple/Google in-app stores. This approach is similar to what other companies do, as Apple and Google charge a 30% fee.

Meta explains that for now, all accounts available in the user’s Account Center will be charged as one account for €9.99. But by March 2024, the company will charge €6 extra for each additional account listed there.

This business plan change comes in a proposal to EU regulators as the European Union threatened to restrict Meta’s ability to show users personalized ads without first seeking consent. With a subscription, users in Europe will be able to opt between not seeing ads or consent about being targeted with personalized ads while using the company’s apps – as it happens in any part of the world.

The company explains in the blog post:

The option for people to purchase a subscription for no ads balances the requirements of European regulators while giving users choice and allowing Meta to continue serving all people in the EU, EEA and Switzerland. In its ruling, the CJEU expressly recognised that a subscription model, like the one we are announcing, is a valid form of consent for an ads funded service. 

(…) Meanwhile, advertisers will be able to continue running personalised advertising campaigns in Europe to reach those who choose to continue to receive a free, ad-supported online service. Going forward, we will continue to invest to build new tools that preserve the value that both people and businesses get out of personalised advertising, while allowing users to control their ads experience on our platforms.

While Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has always advocated that the services should remain free and supported by advertising, this is how the company found it could navigate demands by EU regulators without losing the market in the region.

The Wall Street Journal first revealed the ad-free Facebook and Instagram plans. In the story, the publication noted that the option to pay for ad-free Instagram and Facebook in the US was not planned, as this is a pitch specifically for the European Union due to the region trying to protect its citizens’ data.

The ad-free Instagram and Facebook subscription will be available for people aged 18 and up. Meta says it will continue to explore “how to provide teens with a useful and responsible ad experience given this evolving regulatory landscape.”


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