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Meta Proposes Reduced Subscription Fees for Ad-Free Facebook and Instagram in the EU

Meta proposes lowering ad-free Facebook/Instagram fees in EU to €5.99, addressing data privacy concerns and "Pay or Okay" model criticisms.

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Meta has made a regulator-appealing move by proposing to lower the subscription fees for its ad-free versions of Facebook and Instagram in the European Union. The company has suggested reducing the monthly charge from €9.99 to €5.99 for individual accounts, with each additional account costing €4. This decision comes as Meta seeks to address the concerns raised by European regulators and consumer groups regarding its data privacy practices and subscription models. The company has already launched an ad-free version of its platforms in the EU. 

Compliance with European Regulations

The initiative to launch an ad-free subscription service in the EU was originally motivated by Meta’s need to align with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These regulations impose strict limits on the extent to which online services can collect and use personal data for ad-supported versions. Despite these efforts, Meta’s “Pay or Okay” model, which essentially forces users to choose between consenting to data processing for ads or paying a fee to avoid them, has attracted criticism. Consumer advocates argue that this model pressures users into making a choice that could compromise their privacy.

Meta’s current pricing strategy sets the subscription fee at €9.99 per month when accessed via the web and €12.99 per month for users on Android and iOS platforms. The company defends these rates by comparing them to the subscription fees of other major platforms like YouTube, Spotify, and Netflix. However, in light of the feedback received from data protection authorities and consumer groups, Meta is now in discussions to potentially lower these fees.

Concerns and Criticisms from Consumer Groups

Earlier in the year, over 28 organizations came together to voice their concerns to the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) regarding the €12.99 fee charged for protecting user data and privacy. They warned that Meta’s subscription model could set a precedent that other companies might follow, potentially infringing on consumer rights. The high subscription fee, they argue, leaves users with no choice but to consent to the use, sharing, or selling of their personal data if they find the fee too expensive.

The European Consumer Organization (BEUC) has also highlighted that even with a subscription fee, Meta might still collect user data for purposes other than advertising. This ongoing debate underscores the complex balance between offering users control over their privacy and ensuring the economic viability of platforms that rely heavily on advertising revenues.

SourceReuters
Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.