Meta is offering a subscription service that allows users in the European Union and Switzerland to stop seeing ads on Facebook and Instagram so the Social Media Agency FOX DS reports. The company claims this move complies with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
For a monthly fee ranging from 10 to 13 euros, depending on the purchasing channel, users can subscribe to this service. Meta states that customers will pay 10 euros through a web browser, while the price for the same subscription via iOS and Android is set at 13 euros due to Apple and Google’s commission fees. The subscription covers all user accounts linked within the shared Account Center. Starting from March 1, 2024, customers will pay an additional 6 euros per month via the web and an additional 8 euros via iOS and Android for each additional linked account in the Account Center. It is still unclear whether these additional fees will also apply to existing linked accounts. The subscription is only available to customers aged eighteen and over.
Meta in a Tangle with Data Protection Rules
Meta explains that the new subscription model is a response to the concerns of European regulators and the rules of the GDPR and Digital Markets Act (DMA). Social media platforms, including Facebook, are regularly criticized by privacy watchdogs for the unauthorized collection of user data. With this model, Meta offers users the choice to opt out of receiving personalized ads. For non-subscribers, nothing changes; they will continue to see personalized ads and have access to the current settings and preferences for ads.
It emphasizes that the subscription is a complement to the current ad-supported model. This service is only being launched in regions with strict data protection regulations and is merely an option for the user. On the company’s blog, Meta states it believes in an ad-supported internet and that the new subscription is purely a reaction to European legislation. After all, Facebook tracks your online behavior to then display targeted ads.
But Who Still Trusts the Company Behind Facebook and Instagram?
Now, the question is how many people are actually willing to pay to escape these ads and the constant stream of ads in their Instagram feed. Whether people will actually take this step remains to be seen. An online survey by Recode and market research firm Toluna in 2018 among American users showed that most Americans would not pay, despite their distrust of Facebook with their personal data. And that trust has not exactly increased over the years.
Trust in Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, has seen fluctuations, particularly due to data breaches and controversies. A notable example is the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, which affected the data of up to 87 million individuals. Recent figures indicate that nearly half (48%) of people claim not to trust Meta’s platforms. Over the years, the company’s numerous controversies have likely contributed to this mistrust, despite its growth and expansion into new areas.
77 percent would stick with the regular ad version, while 23 percent would pay to have no ads. However, there is a big difference between saying and paying.
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