In Europe who uses Facebook and Instagram will be able to access a paid version of these social networks which does not include advertising. The monthly cost will depend on the type of access chosen: from desktop it will amount to 10 euros for each accountwhile from mobile you will end up paying around 13 euros (due to the commissions that Apple and Google charge for in-app payments). Each additional account will cost around 6 euros.
Meta – the company that controls Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp – has studied this strategy to circumvent the new European rules to protect privacy. Last December, in fact, the EU deemed the ways in which Meta asks its users permission to display inappropriate personalized advertisements based on their online activity.
In short, the “terms of service” that users must accept to access social platforms are no longer sufficient to justify this practice. As a result, Meta is thinking of offering an alternative to users: Facebook and Instagram will remain free for all those who are willing to view targeted ads on their timeline. All the others, i.e. those who do not want to share their activity on the web with Meta, they will necessarily have to subscribe.
Digital Services Act How social networks change with the European DSA: a practical guide by Francesco Marino 26 August 2023
Per Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook and CEO of Meta, it is essential that the main services of the Menlo Park company are free and that the economic revenue comes only from advertising. But already in 2018, in front of the US Congress, Zuckerberg had opened up the possibility of a “subscription” for users who want to free themselves from advertising. On that occasion Zuckerberg said that “there will always be a free version of Facebook”.
Meta admits: our artificial intelligence is trained with Facebook and Instagram posts by Bruno Ruffilli 02 October 2023
“Meta believes in the value of free services supported by personalized ads – says a company spokesperson -. However, we continue to evaluate options that ensure compliance with constantly evolving regulatory requirements. We currently have no further information to share”.
A “premium” version of Facebook and Instagram actually already exists and is available in several countries around the world including Italy. It’s called “Meta Verified”. By paying 13.99 euros per month (from desktop, 16.99 from mobile) you can get a blue check that verifies the account and additional services that limit, for example, the risks of identity theft.
Facebook and Instagram without advertising, however, are new – announced by an exclusive from the WSJ – which will be of interest for the moment only Europe.