By Tom Gerken
Facebook and Instagram are launching subscriptions in most of Europe that will remove adverts from the platforms.
People using the Meta-owned platforms will be able to pay €9.99 (£8.72) per month for an ad-free experience. It will not be available in the UK.
In January, Meta was fined €390m for breaking EU data rules around ads.
The regulator said at the time the firm could not “force consent” by saying consumers must accept how their data is used or leave the platforms.
The subscription tier will be exclusive to people in the EU, European Economic Area and Switzerland from November.
But it will only be accessible for people aged over 18 at first, with the firm looking into how it can serve ads to young people in the EU without breaking the rules.
Meta said its new subscription was about addressing EU concerns, rather than making money.
“We believe in an ad-supported internet, which gives people access to personalised products and services regardless of their economic status,” the firm wrote in a blog.
“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.
“We respect the spirit and purpose of these evolving European regulations, and are committed to complying with them.”
Users will be given the choice either to continue using the platforms for free – and have their data collected – or to pay and completely opt out of targeted ads by removing them.
But they could end up paying more than the initial monthly fee.
The service will cost an additional €3 per month if paid for on iOS or Android, to account for the additional fees taken by these platforms.
But this extra charge can be avoided by paying for the platform via the Facebook and Instagram websites, rather than the mobile apps.
Meanwhile, from March 2024, users must pay more money for each additional account they have on the platforms – such as having both a business and personal account.
The announcement comes after Elon Musk’s X, formerly Twitter, introduced an ad-free Premium+ service priced at £16 per month.
There is also a much cheaper subscription tier on X that will still feature ads but give people the option to edit posts, as well as the standard premium tier that grants people a blue checkmark amongst other benefits.
TikTok has also been testing a monthly subscription to remove ads – priced at $4.99 – but there is no indication yet that this will be rolled out globally.