Facebook and Instagram will start offering ad-free plans in Europe in November

The platforms will temporarily stop showing any ads to under 18s in some locales.


Meta has confirmed it will start offering Facebook and Instagram users in Europe an ad-free subscription option in November. Those in the European Union, European Economic Area and Switzerland will be able to use both platforms without ads for a monthly fee of €10 ($10.61) if they sign up on the web or €13 ($13.79) if they take out a subscription through iOS and Android apps. The difference is to account for the cut of in-app payments that Apple and Google take.

Meta says that subscribers’ data will not be used for advertising purposes. For the time being, the subscription will cover all linked accounts in a user's Accounts Center. Starting on March 1 next year, users will need to pay an extra €6 on the web and €8 more on iOS and Android for each linked account on which they want to have an ad-free experience.

Users will still have the choice to use Facebook and Instagram for free but with ads in their feeds. Meta says it will "continue to offer people free access to our personalized products and services regardless of income."

The company claims it’s starting to offer the ad-free plan to comply with “evolving European regulations” such as the Digital Markets Act and stricter interpretations of the General Data Protection Regulation. Privacy regulators in the EU have pressured Meta to seek explicit consent from users before showing them targeted ads based on their activity. The company offered to oblige with that request but reportedly suggested to regulators that it should be able to charge users who opt out, likely in an attempt to make up for any shortfall in revenue. It says the Court of Justice of the European Union stipulated in a ruling "that a subscription model, like the one we are announcing, is a valid form of consent for an ads funded service."

Reports over the last couple of months have suggested Meta would start offering ad-free plans in Europe as part of an effort to sate EU regulators, who haven't shied away from penalizing the company. In May, the bloc fined Meta $1.3 billion for moving EU citizens' data to servers in the US. It was previously reported that the ad-free plans could cost as much as $17 per month, but that isn't quite the case.

Meanwhile, as part of its shifting ad strategy in Europe, Meta will temporarily stop showing any ads to users aged under 18 in areas where the ad-free subscription is available, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal. This will come into effect on November 6. Earlier this year, Meta placed stricter limits on the data that advertisers can use to show teens targeted ads.

This is the first time that Meta has offered an ad-free subscription option. Confirmation of the plans follows X (formerly Twitter) starting to offer two additional Premium (formerly Twitter Blue) tiers last week. The more expensive one of these allows users to get rid of ads for $16 per month.

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