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Meta might drop the price of ad-free Facebook and Instagram, but I still wouldn’t pay

Published Mar 19th, 2024 12:08PM EDT
A pedestrian walks in front of a new logo and the name 'Meta' on the sign in front of Facebook headquarters on October 28, 2021 in Menlo Park, California.
Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Meta’s ad-free subscription started rolling out for Facebook and Instagram users in the European Union back in November 2023. We are only four months into the existence of this thing and, already, Meta is talking about cutting the price of it in half.

Currently, the ad-free subscription, which removes ads from both Facebook and Instagram, costs users in the EU €9.99 per month. However, remember that the company said that it will only cover one account until March 1, 2024. If you want to remove ads from both of your accounts now, you’ll be paying a total of €15.99 per month.

The subscription is a simple deal. If a user doesn’t want to deal with the deluge of ads across both platforms and wants a clean, ad-free experience, they can choose it — for a price. And now, it appears that the price might be getting cut in half.

iPhone data stolen by third-party notifications
Facebook app on iPhone. Image source: José Adorno for BGR

As reported by Reuters, a senior executive from Meta has announced that the company has offered to slash the price of its ad-free subscription for Facebook and Instagram from €9.99 per month to €5.99 per month.

At a European Commission hearing, Meta lawyer Tim Lamb said, “We have wanted to accelerate that process for some time because we need to get to a steady state … so we have offered to drop the price from 9.99 to 5.99 for a single account and 4 euros for any additional accounts.”

That is by far the lowest end of the range that any reasonable person should be paying for services of this quality. And I think that is a serious offer. The regulatory uncertainty at the moment is out there and it needs to settle down quickly.

Instagram app
Instagram app in the App Store. Image source: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems said that, even with a reduced fee, “We do not think the mere change of the amount makes this approach legal.”

We know from all research that even a fee of just 1.99 euros or less leads to a shift in consent from 3-10% that genuinely want advertisments to 99.9% that still click yes. The GDPR requires that consent must be ‘freely’ given.

Even if Meta lowers the price, I wouldn’t give the company my money to get rid of ads — mainly because I don’t use Facebook or Instagram anymore and, even if I did, I don’t think removing ads is enough value for that amount of money. In comparison, YouTube Premium, which costs me $12.99 per month, removes ads AND also gives me access to the company’s music streaming service. That’s an actual value.

For anyone who really wants to live ad-free, I get it. However, I think Meta needs to offer more than just the lack of ads to warrant spending money on a social media service. I dare say Meta needs to look at X (formerly known as Twitter) for how many benefits should be offered if you’re asking social media users to pay.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.