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Facebook and Instagram to Offer Subscription for No Ads in Europe | Meta

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Update on December 4, 2023 at 2:00 AM PT:

We are committed to an ads-supported digital business model, because it is the cornerstone of an inclusive internet where everyone can access online services and content for free. It allows people to use services like Facebook and Instagram for free while benefiting from seeing personalised advertising, helping them discover new products and brands that are most relevant to them.

Personalised advertising also enables businesses of all sizes – particularly small and medium-sized businesses – to find customers most likely to be interested in what they offer. This creates considerable value for businesses: in Europe, every Euro spent on our ads drives on average 3.37 Euros in revenues for advertisers, supporting over €84 billion in business revenues every year.¹

However, Europe’s regulatory landscape is evolving. And with new regulatory interpretations of permitted legal bases for personalised advertising under the GDPR, as well as the coming into force of the Digital Markets Act, we are now required to offer people in the EU, EEA and Switzerland an alternative way of using Facebook and Instagram.

That’s why, in October, we announced that people in the EU could choose to continue to use Facebook and Instagram with ads, or they could choose to pay a monthly fee for a subscription service with no ads on Facebook and Instagram.² If a person chooses to subscribe, they won’t see ads and we will not process their information for personalised advertising. 

We introduced this choice, called ‘Subscription for no ads’, as our consent solution to comply with a unique combination of connected and sometimes overlapping EU regulatory obligations with differing compliance deadlines.

Subscriptions as an alternative to seeing advertising are a well-established and economically viable business model spanning many industries, from news publishing and gaming to music and entertainment. That’s why we believe it is the best compliance solution. Like countless other businesses, we believe it allows us to meet changing regulatory obligations while offering users a clear choice.

‘Subscription for no ads’ addresses the latest regulatory developments, guidance and judgments shared by leading European regulators and the courts over recent years. Specifically, it conforms to direction given by the highest court in Europe: in July, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) endorsed the subscriptions model as a way for people to consent to data processing for personalised advertising. And even before that decision, the validity of a subscription service as part of a model to obtain valid consent had been acknowledged by numerous European data protection authorities, including in France, Denmark and Germany.

Regardless of whether a person chooses to subscribe or not, everyone who uses Facebook and Instagram can continue to use our Privacy Centre to access the extensive range of tools that we have built to give people choice over the information they share and how we process their data. Those who choose to continue to see personalised ads will also continue to have full control over whether or not we use information from third party websites and apps to personalise the ads we show them. And as has been the case for people in the EU, EEA and Switzerland since 2018, unless a person actively opts in to see ads based on information from third parties, it won’t happen. 

Additionally, those who choose to continue to see personalised ads can also access features to further manage how their data is used to inform their ads, including Why am I seeing this ad? and our long-standing ad preferences tools. We remain committed to ensuring that people who choose to use our services for free continue to have a positive ad experience.

At Meta, we believe that technology is about giving everyone a voice, and that the best way to do that is to offer services for free – and that’s why we will always advocate for an internet funded by ads.

1. Europe’s calculations are based on methods published with the National Bureau of Economic Research. ‘Learning, Sophistication, and the Returns to Advertising: Implications for Differences in Firm Performance’ 2023. Calculations using 2022 Data.
2. EU, EEA and Switzerland.

Originally published on October 30, 2023 at 5:00 AM PT:

To comply with evolving European regulations, we are introducing a new subscription option in the EU, EEA and Switzerland. In November, we will be offering people who use Facebook or Instagram and reside in these regions the choice to continue using these personalised services for free with ads, or subscribe to stop seeing ads. While people are subscribed, their information will not be used for ads. 

People in these countries will be able to subscribe for a fee to use our products without ads. Depending on where you purchase it will cost €9.99/month on the web or €12.99/month on iOS and Android. Regardless of where you purchase, the subscription will apply to all linked Facebook and Instagram accounts in a user’s Accounts Center. As is the case for many online subscriptions, the iOS and Android pricing take into account the fees that Apple and Google charge through respective purchasing policies. Until March 1, 2024, the initial subscription covers all linked accounts in a user’s Accounts Center. However, beginning March 1, 2024, an additional fee of €6/month on the web and €8/month on iOS and Android will apply for each additional account listed in a user’s Account Center.

Why Are We Doing This?

We believe in an ad-supported internet, which gives people access to personalised products and services regardless of their economic status. It also allows small businesses to reach potential customers, grow their business and create new markets, driving growth in the European economy. And like other companies we’ll continue to advocate for an ad-supported internet, even with our new subscription offering in the EU, EEA and Switzerland.  But we respect the spirit and purpose of these evolving European regulations, and are committed to complying with them. 

We announced in August our intention to move people in the EU, EEA and Switzerland to the GDPR legal basis of “Consent” for the purpose of processing data collected on our own platforms for advertising purposes. We made that change to address a number of evolving and emerging regulatory requirements in the region. This includes how our lead data protection regulator in the EU, the Irish Data Protection Commission, is interpreting GDPR following a recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and anticipating the entry into force of the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The option for people to purchase a subscription for no ads balances the requirements of European regulators while giving users choice and allowing Meta to continue serving all people in the EU, EEA and Switzerland. In its ruling, the CJEU expressly recognised that a subscription model, like the one we are announcing, is a valid form of consent for an ads funded service. 

If you choose to continue to use our products for free, your experience will stay the same – and that experience will continue to be supported by the tools and settings that we have created to empower people to control their ads experience. These include Ad Preferences, which offers a range of controls that enable you to influence the ads you see as well as the data used to inform these ads, including  activity information from ad partners. We also have tools in our product that explain “Why am I seeing this ad?”, as well as how people can manage their ad experience

Meanwhile, advertisers will be able to continue running personalised advertising campaigns in Europe to reach those who choose to continue to receive a free, ad-supported online service. Going forward, we will continue to invest to build new tools that preserve the value that both people and businesses get out of personalised advertising, while allowing users to control their ads experience on our platforms.  The subscription for no ads will be available for people aged 18 and up, and we’re continuing to explore how to provide teens with a useful and responsible ad experience given this evolving regulatory landscape.

This new subscription model has been factored into our most recently announced business outlook and guidance. This post contains forward-looking statements, including about Meta’s business outlook and the evolving regulatory landscape. You should not rely on these statements as predictions of future events. Additional information regarding potential risks and uncertainties about our business and financial results can be found in our most recent Form 10-Q. Meta undertakes no obligation to update these statements as a result of new information or future events.

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