Meta aims to roll out SNA, or subscription no ads, to European users in the coming months, according to The Wall Street Journal. Under SNA, users would pay €10 a month, about $10.50, for a Facebook or Instagram account on desktop. Each additional linked account would tack on €6, or about $6.30. SNA for mobile would cost €13 a month, $13.61. The report said this is because Meta would factor in commissions charged by Apple and Google’s respective app stores on in-app payments.
If they choose not to subscribe to the ad-free tier, users are agreeing to let Meta “use their digital activity to target ads,” the report said.
“Meta believes in the value of free services which are supported by personalized ads,” a Meta spokesperson told Cord Cutters News via email. “However, we continue to explore options to ensure we comply with evolving regulatory requirements. We have nothing further to share at this time.”
Offering paid versions of its social media account is Meta’s way of addressing the EU’s heavy regulatory scrutiny of the social media company’s privacy and advertising practices. Like many apps, Facebook and Instagram generates a vast majority of its revenue from ads on the platforms, and those regulations may curtail its ability to make money in Europe. A paid subscription would help recoup potential losses while keeping the company in compliance with EU regulations.
The tech giant reportedly detailed SNA in September during a meeting with privacy regulators in Ireland and digital-competition regulators in Brussels. Meta aims to roll out SNA to European users in the coming months.
Like X, subscriptions wouldn’t be mandatory, so Meta is taking a bit of a gamble that people will pay for the apps, but given how interwoven daily life is with social media, it might get some takers.
In the years following the enactment of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, legislation, Meta has come under fire in the EU for how its ad-based services rely on people’s data.
In May, the EU slapped Meta with a €1.2 billion fine for transferring EU citizen’s data to US-based servers. The following month, the EU’s highest court forbade Meta from combining collected user data across its platforms, outside websites and apps without explicit consent from the user. This January, Irish regulators fined Meta €390 million for forcing users to accept personalized ads to use Facebook.
Last year, the social media company was fined €265 million for allowing millions of Facebook users’ mobile phone numbers and other data from being illegally obtained and posted online.
Regardless, Meta’s consideration of paid subscriptions could mean more users will see apps redesigning to comply with data and privacy laws. An ad-free tier may eventually hit other markets if consumers express demand for one.