Both the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times/Ars Technica are reporting, via unnamed sources, that Meta plans to offer residents in the European Union (EU) a way to access its Instagram and Facebook products without ads in the coming weeks.
The story claims Meta will offer the EU a way to ditch ads on Instagram on their smartphones for $14 a month. It will also offer a way to get rid of ads for both Facebook and Instagram on the desktop for $17 a month. Meta will still keep the ad-based versions for free in the EU.
Previous rumors have popped up about such plans, but this is the first time we have gotten possible info about a timeline and a price tag for the ad-free plans.
Meta is facing a November 30 deadline from European regulators, who claim that it cannot offer services like Instagram or Facebook that take personal data from people so it can show ads to its users without their consent. An option to offer a subscription-based ad-free network could appease those regulators.
Meta has already been hit by a €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) fine by the European Data Protection Board earlier this year. The fine was made due to Meta transferring the personal data of European citizens to Facebook servers based in the US. Meta says it is appealing the decision.
The move to offer subscription-based services on social networks that have previously been completely free to access has been growing for some time. X (formerly Twitter) launched its X Blue service in 2023. It offers quite a few features, including decreased ads, for $8 a month.
This week, another big social network, TikTok, was discovered to have some code threads in its app that could indicate it plans to launch its own ad-free version of the service very soon.