December 1, 2023


Instagram and Facebook users in the European Union may soon be able to opt out of targeted ads if they pay for a monthly subscription.

A source familiar with the matter told CNN that Meta is evaluating a range of options to comply with multiple European regulations aimed at curbing US technology companies’ use of personalized ads. Over the last year, the EU has tightened regulations and will require big tech companies to ask users for their consent around such advertising.

In July, a court ruled tech companies could use subscription models as a way of offering such consent, including asking users if they want to access Facebook and Instagram without advertising, for a fee.

Under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), companies may collect and use the personal data of EU citizens so long as the usage falls into certain disclosed categories. Meta has previously argued that its data collection for advertising is needed for fulfilling the “contracts” between the platform and end users to provide service. But privacy advocates and regulators have said that justification doesn’t support the use of personal data for advertising.

CNN’s source said Meta remains in close discussions with its lead regulator in Europe, the Irish Data Protection Commission, about a compliance solution. The plans, if implemented, would not apply to users outside of Europe.

Facebook viewed on an iPhone SE in San Francisco, California in March 2022.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported Meta aims to charge about $14 a month to users who want to bypass targeted ads on Instagram on their phones and $17 to access both Facebook and Instagram without ads, to comply with EU regulations.

A spokesperson for Meta declined to comment on the possibility of rolling out a subscription plan but echoed that it is looking at all options.

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

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