Consumer Inflation Sentiment October 2023

Meta Pitches $14 Per Month Ad-Free Social Media in Europe

Meta is reportedly proposing an ad-free version of its social media platform to European users.

The company has been pitching regulators the idea of a $14 per month version of Instagram without ads, as well as an almost $17 a month plan that lets users access Instagram and Facebook from their desktops, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday (Oct. 3).

The report, citing a proposal Meta has made to regulators in the past few weeks, says the plan is a bid by the social media giant to adhere to European Union (EU) rules that threaten its ability to show personalized ads without user consent. 

PYMNTS has contacted Meta for comment but has not yet received a reply.

Meta reportedly hopes to launch the plan — dubbed “SNA” or “subscription no ads” — in the months ahead. Sources told the WSJ it would give people the choice of using Facebook and Instagram for free with personalized ads, or pay a subscription for ad-free access.

According to the WSJ, the offering is not expected to be rolled out in the U.S. any time soon, as Meta’s proposal is being pitched solely to address the demands of European regulators.

Last month, the company updated its WhatsApp messaging platform to comply with new European regulations, reportedly creating a beta version of the service that includes a new screen for third-party chats. 

That change is meant to comply with an interoperability requirement under the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which means that users of platforms like Signal or Telegram should be able to send messages through WhatsApp without needing a WhatsApp account.

The rule applies to companies designated as “gatekeepers” by the EU, a distinction that applies to Meta and other tech giants.

“Under the DMA, the European Commission can designate digital platforms as ‘gatekeepers’ if they provide an important gateway between businesses and consumers in relation to core platform services,” the commission said in a news release.

Also last month, Meta denied reports that it was considering adding advertisements to WhatsApp, which remains one of the company’s few ad-free spaces at a time when it needs to boost revenue. 

As PYMNTS has written, Meta has looked to WhatsApp as a potential revenue source as it tries to stem the losses it has suffered in pursuit of its metaverse efforts.

“We continue to be excited about the monetization opportunity with business messaging too,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during an earnings call in February, claiming that messaging will become a major business pillar in the years to come.