Meta may offer EU users the chance to avoid ads | Pocket

Meta Considers Offering Paid Subscriptions to Instagram and Facebook Users

According to sources familiar with the matter, Meta is contemplating the introduction of a subscription service that would allow Instagram and Facebook users to avoid advertisements. While the company would continue to provide its sites and apps for free, it remains uncertain how much Meta would charge for the subscription.

This decision to offer paid versions of its popular apps is a response to increased regulations surrounding the collection and use of consumer data by Meta. It also suggests a potential divergence in how technology is experienced and engaged with in Europe and the USA. By offering a subscription option, Meta hopes to avoid further scrutiny from EU regulators who prohibited data consolidation across platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook in July. Additionally, the company was fined 390 million euros in January for forcing Facebook users to accept personalized ads as a condition of service.

Regulatory Concerns and Fines

Meta has faced numerous fines due to mishandling user data, including a 265 million euro fine in 2023 following a data leak, a separate fine of 17 million euros for another leak, and a 225 million euro fine from Irish regulators for violations involving WhatsApp.

Impact on European Market

These regulatory concerns have put Meta on the backfoot in the European market. The company has refrained from releasing its latest app, Threads, in European countries due to these concerns. However, Meta insiders believe that offering a choice of services may alleviate regulatory concerns, despite the potential unpopularity of the subscription option.

Financial Incentive and Value

Europe is Meta’s second most lucrative market after North America, accounting for 10% of the company’s $117 billion revenue. As a result, Meta has a significant financial incentive to appease regulators in the region. Currently valued at $761.10 billion, with a maximum valuation of $1.065 trillion in September 2021, Meta remains successful despite a decrease in value and can absorb any potential losses from the new offering.

In July, it was reported that Meta, among others, had six months to comply with the new Digital Markets Act.