Meta mulls EU charge for ad-free Facebook. Could it come to the UK?

Meta charge Image credit: mundissima / Shutterstock

Meta is exploring options to roll out a subscription model for Facebook and Instagram users in the European Union who want to opt out of personalised ads. But could it start charging UK users as well?

The move would see EU users pay $14 (£11.60) to access the Instagram app or $17 (£14) bundled with Facebook on desktop without targeted adverts.

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, said that Meta is looking to officially launch the ad-free subscription in the coming weeks.

As it stands, Meta charging users to opt out of targeted ads based on their personal data would only happen in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA).

The move is seen as a way for Meta to circumvent data privacy laws after the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in July that Meta cannot profile users across its platforms and the web without real consent.

It is not considered likely that Meta would require a subscription fee to opt out of targeted ads in the UK, as the pressure on Big Tech’s interactions with personal data has been uniquely applied in Europe through the Digital Markets Act.

Following the UK’s exit from the EU, it is no longer bound by the trading bloc’s regulatory decisions.

Currently, Facebook and Instagram users in the UK can opt out of personalised ads free of charge by adjusting the ad settings.

A Meta spokesperson told UKTN: “Meta believes in the value of free services which are supported by personalised ads.

“However, we continue to explore options to ensure we comply with evolving regulatory requirements. We have nothing further to share at this time.”

Meta considering a subscription for Facebook and Instagram follows X, formerly Twitter, charging for verified accounts back in February.

On Tuesday video-sharing app TikTok confirmed to TechCrunch that it is testing a monthly subscription service that would remove adverts.

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