Meta wants to charge European users for ad-free Instagram, Facebook: Report

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Meta is considering charging its European users nearly $14 a month for an ad-free version of Instagram if they do not agree to let the company use their personal data for targeted ads, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

The proposal, which would cost users around $14 a month on mobile devices and as much as $17 on a desktop, is Meta’s attempt to navigate strict privacy rules in the European Union. The rules will require Meta to get users’ consent in order to show them targeted ads, which would likely have an adverse impact on the company’s advertising revenue.

Meta has spoken with digital-competition regulators in Brussels, privacy regulators in Ireland and other EU privacy regulators about its proposal, according to the report. The company has reportedly named the plan “subscription no ads,” or SNA, and it wants to start rolling it out in the coming months.

It is not clear whether regulators believe Meta’s proposal is a sufficient workaround, according to the report, and they may ask the company to propose a cheaper offering.

“Meta believes in the value of free services which are supported by personalized ads. However, we continue to explore options to ensure we comply with evolving regulatory requirements. We have nothing further to share at this time,” a Meta spokesperson told CNBC Tuesday. 

Since the privacy rules do not apply to the U.S., it is unlikely that Meta would introduce SNA there. But in February, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a paid verification subscription service called Meta Verified.

For $11.99 a month on the web and $14.99 a month on iOS, users on Meta’s Instagram and Facebook platforms will be able to submit their government ID and get a blue verification badge. Zuckerberg said the new feature aims to increase “authenticity and security” across the platforms.

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