Meta launches tiered subscription for Facebook and Instagram

30/10/2023 | The Guardian

In a blog post on Monday, Meta announced that it will offer users in the EU, EEA and Switzerland the choice to pay a monthly subscription to access Facebook and Instagram without any ads. Users in the region will be charged up to €12.99 a month for smartphone users and €9.99 for desktop users for ad-free versions of the popular social network platforms. 

Reports emerged as early as September indicating that the new tiered subscription plan was on the cards. This move comes after a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in July, which challenged the company's use of personal data beyond what is necessary to perform a contract. The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) also fined the company €390 million in January for invalid legal basis for processing user data to deliver targeted advertising. 

In response to further reports last month, Austrian privacy group NOYB highlighted that Meta is relying on an additional consideration (obiter dictum) within the CJEU's July ruling, stating that an alternative to advertising should be offered "if necessary for an appropriate fee." NOYB claims such additional considerations by a court are typically non-binding and that this will need to be clarified if Meta's new approach returns to the court.

Meta confirmed that it will continue to offer free access to its products and services while safeguarding user privacy and security in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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