Meta proposes charging monthly fee for ad-free Instagram and Facebook in Europe

Meta is considering charging European users for versions of its Instagram and Facebook apps, which are currently free, to comply with European Union regulations. 

The technology company has proposed charging Instagram and Facebook users in Europe about $13 a month to avoid seeing ads, a source told CBS MoneyWatch. That’s roughly what competitors such as YouTube Premium charge for accounts in Europe. The Wall Street Journal first reported on Meta’s plan.

Meta is required to comply with European Union privacy rules that restrict its ability to target users with personalized ads based on their online browsing activity. Facebook and Instagram, which are free, are largely supposed by advertising. Ireland’s Data Privacy Commissioner previously fined the company for requiring app users to consent to viewing ads based on their online activity.

The new proposal would offer European users two choices: continue using free versions of Instagram and Facebook with personalized ads, or pay for ad-free subscriptions. The changes would not affect Meta app users in other countries, including the U.S. 

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A source familiar with the matter told CBS MoneyWatch that Meta’s proposal is not set in stone and it continues to explore a range of options to comply with the EU regulations.

“Meta believes in the value of free services which are supported by personalized ads. However, we continue to explore options to ensure we comply with evolving regulatory requirements,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch. 

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