Facebook and Instagram users in Europe could get ad-free subscription option, WSJ reports


LONDON (AP) — Meta plans to give Facebook and Instagram users in Europe the option of paying for ad-free versions of the social media platforms as a way to comply with the continent’s strict data privacy rules, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The company wants to charge users about 10 euros ($10.50) a month to use Instagram or Facebook without ads on desktop browsers, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the proposal. Adding more accounts would cost 6 euros each.

Prices for mobile would be higher, at roughly 13 euros a month, because Meta needs to account for commissions charged by the Apple and Google app stores on in-app payments, the newspaper said.

Meta reportedly is hoping to roll out paid subscriptions in the coming months as a way to comply with European Union data privacy rules that threaten its lucrative business model of showing personalized ads to users.

Meta would give users the choice between continuing to use the platforms with ads or paying for the ad-free version, the WSJ said.

“Meta believes in the value of free services which are supported by personalized ads,” the company said in a statement to The Associated Press. “However, we continue to explore options to ensure we comply with evolving regulatory requirements. We have nothing further to share at this time.”

The EU’s top court said in July that Meta must first get consent before showing ads to users — a ruling that jeopardizes the company’s ability to make money by tailoring advertisements for individual users based on their online interests and digital activity.

It’s not clear if EU regulators will sign off on the plan or insist that the company offer cheaper versions. The newspaper said one issue regulators have is whether the proposed fees will be too expensive for most people who don’t want to be targeted by ads.

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