Meta might launch paid versions of Instagram and Facebook in Europe

September 6, 2023 by
Frank Calviño

Meta might launch paid versions of Instagram and Facebook for users in the European Union. The purpose of creating these subscription models is to make it possible to use social networks without advertising content, The New York Times has reported. 

This is a response to EU policies regarding privacy and data protection and a defense mechanism against regulatory scrutiny.

The company, headed by Mark Zuckerberg, made adjustments to adapt to recent regulations approved by the EU, such as the Digital Services Act (DSA), which came into force last August 25. Among other things, it prohibits platforms from presenting ads based on the use of the personal data of minors.

For nearly two decades, Meta's primary focus has been to offer free social networking services and sell advertising to companies that want to reach the audience. Introducing a paid option is one of the examples of how it has had to redesign its product to comply with data privacy rules and other government policies.

Meta’s ‘free versions’ will remain… for now 

Meta's goal would be to avoid future sanctions such as those it has recently received. In May, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) fined them €1.2 billion for transfers of personal data of Meta users in Europe to the United States. Separately, in July, EU bodies banned Meta from combining user data across its platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, as well as external websites and apps, unless it received explicit consent from users.

It has also highlighted how EU policies, specifically around data protection, may impact users' experience with the technology as opposed to other countries, such as the United States.

At the moment, the subscription cost for these social networks is unknown, but both would continue to provide their ad-supported free versions in the EU, as they have done so far.

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