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Meta offers to make ad-free Facebook and Instagram subscription cheaper in the EU

The Meta logo in front of windmills

The ad-free subscription for Facebook and Instagram in the EU might cost about 40% less in the coming future. Reuters reports that the social media giant Meta has offered to reduce its subscription price from €9.99 to €5.99, addressing concerns from European regulators.

Meta's lawyer Tim Lamb said in a European Commission hearing:

We have wanted to accelerate that process for some time because we need to get to a steady state. So we have offered to drop the price from 9.99 to 5.99 for a single account and 4 euros for any additional accounts.

That is by far the lowest end of the range that any reasonable person should be paying for services of these quality, And I think that is a serious offer. The regulatory uncertainty at the moment is out there and it needs to settle down quickly.

Meta launched its ad-free subscription in the EU to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Digital Markets Act limits how much personal data an online service can collect with an ad-supported version.

However, its 'Pay or Okay' model caught the attention of consumer groups who claimed that the company is forcing users to "either consent to the processing of their data for advertising purposes by the company or pay in order not to be shown advertisements."

Meta charges €9.99/mo on the web or €12.99/mo on Android and iOS apps and says that the prices are in line with other platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, and Netflix. The publication reports that Meta offered to reduce its subscription fee earlier this, and now, it's in talks with data protection authorities regarding the issue.

While a monthly fee may give users an option to improve their privacy, it's likely that user data may still be collected for purposes other than ads on Meta's platforms, according to the European Consumer Organization (BEUC).

Earlier this year, over 28 organizations sent a joint letter to the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) to express concerns against the €12.99 being charged to protect user data and privacy. The letter also cautioned that the 'Pay or Okay' model could be replicated by other companies that would violate consumer rights. Users who find the subscription fee expensive will have to allow the “use, sharing, or selling of personal data.”

Source: Reuters

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