Europeans Can Pay for Ad-free Social Media

    05 November 2023

    Facebook and Instagram users in Europe are getting the option to use the social media services without seeing advertisements.

    However, they will have to pay for that option. Meta, the parent company of both Facebook and Instagram, recently announced the new choice, which is meant to comply with Europe's data privacy rules.

    Starting this month, users on desktop browsers will pay about $11 a month while iOS and Android users will pay $14 a month. Meta said in a blog that the price difference between the versions is the result of higher costs linked to the Apple and Google app stores.

    FILE - The logos of Facebook and Instagram and the words Monthly subscription are seen in this picture illustration taken January 19, 2023. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration)
    FILE - The logos of Facebook and Instagram and the words "Monthly subscription" are seen in this picture illustration taken January 19, 2023. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration)

    The monthly payment will cover all linked Facebook and Instagram accounts until March 1, 2024. On that date, Meta will require $6 to $8 for each additional account depending on the system used. Meta released details of the plan late last month.

    Meta said it is introducing the new pay option after a ruling by the EU's top court. The court said Meta must first get consent before showing ads to users under EU data privacy rules.

    Meta advertises products and services to individual users based on their online activity. The EU ruling affects the company's ability to make money from its advertising methods.

    Meta said in a statement, that the paid option "balances the requirements of European regulators while giving users choice and allowing Meta to continue serving all people."

    Users aged 18 and older in the EU's 27 member countries, and also Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein will still have the choice to continue using Facebook or Instagram with ads.

    Meta said it is considering how to "provide teens with a useful and responsible ad experience" under the European privacy ruling.

    On November 1, the European data regulator, the European Data Protection Board, announced that it would extend a ban on "behavioral advertising" on Facebook and Instagram. The ban covers all 30 countries in the EU and the European Economic Area. The ban was first put in place by non-EU member Norway. The northern European country has ordered Meta to pay thousands of dollars each day since the middle of August for breaking the country's privacy rules.

    Behavioral advertising targets users by collecting their personal data. The EU's ban on such advertising is considered a setback for Meta.

    In a statement, Meta said it believes in an "ad-supported internet." But the company said it respects "the spirit and purpose of these evolving European regulations," and aims to comply with them.

    I'm Anna Matteo.

    Anna Matteo wrote this report for VOA Learning English based on Associated Press and Reuters reports and other materials.


    Words in This Story

    option –n. one of two or more possible choices

    comply –v. to do what you are asked or required to do; to obey

    data –n. information

    browser –n. software that permits the use of the internet on a computer

    consent –n. permission to do something

    regulator –n. a person or group that enforces rules in an industry or field

    allow –v. to permit

    setback –n. a problem that makes reaching one's goals more difficult

    evolve –v. to change over time