Meta Considering Launching Paid-For, Ad-Free Facebook & Instagram In The EU

Meta Considering Launching Paid-For, Ad-Free Facebook & Instagram In The EU

Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, is reportedly considering new ad-free and paid-for versions of its apps in the EU.

Mark Zuckerberg’s (pictured) company is apparently considering the dramatic departure from its existing business model to deal with the finicky new regulations that the European Union is issuing. However, it is unclear at the moment how much the paid versions of Instagram and Facebook would cost.

Unsurprisingly, the mooted plan is confidential and has only come to light after an anonymous source spoke to The New York TimesMeta declined to comment on the Times’ reporting.

Under the mooted plan, Meta would continue to offer free versions of its apps and would simply turn off ads for users who decided to pay.

Zuckerberg’s company has been in the crosshairs of European regulators for a number of years. In July, it lost a court battle against the EU after a 2019 German order barred it from collecting user data without consent. The EU is also considering breaking up the social media behemoth in an antitrust case.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission also fined Meta US$1.3 billion (just over AU$2 billion) for transferring data of European users to the US, a violation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. The US and the EU signed a data transfer agreement in July, easing restrictions on social media platforms.

Meta also delayed releasing Threads in the EU, reportedly due to regulatory concerns.

Moving away from an ad-based business model would be a significant departure for Meta and would cause a significant shake-up in the world of digital media buying. At the moment, Meta’s platforms dominate online ad share in Australia and much of the world.

What’s more, it is unclear how much public appetite there would be for a paid-for version of the apps. Currently, people like getting stuff for free and Elon Musk’s attempt to charge users for verification hasn’t exactly gone swimmingly.

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