Meta's New Ad-Free Tier Raises Privacy Concerns

Meta's New Ad-Free Tier Raises Privacy Concerns

News by Roberto Orosa
Published: November 15, 2023

Facebook and Instagram owner Meta recently rolled out a new ad-free subscription option in the European Union to align with strict regional regulations.

From November, users in EU member states have the choice to continue using Facebook and Instagram's personalized services for free with ads or opt for a subscription to eliminate ads.

The new subscription options are priced at €9.99 a month on the web and €12.99 a month on iOS and Android.

Meta's move followed its announcement in August about transitioning users in these regions to the GDPR legal basis of "consent" for processing data on its platforms for advertising purposes.

What’s the Price of Privacy?

Meta's latest move to offer paid ad-free access to Facebook and Instagram marks an important moment in the online privacy debate.

While it's a common trend among social media giants, with X slated to announce premium tiers, Meta's strategic shift follows legal challenges, with EU courts deeming its initial one-time consent approach illegal.

  • The decision poses a question: Is €10/month a reasonable fee for retaining data privacy?

While Meta cites regulatory compliance, the average revenue per user in Europe was €5.83 monthly in the third quarter of 2023.

Meanwhile, the broader market value of personal data remains uncertain, complicating the evaluation of the subscription's fairness.

A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research indicates that users, despite stating a high value for privacy, often compromise it for vague promises.

The gap between what users say about valuing privacy and their actual choices emphasizes the complicated dynamics of online privacy decisions, especially in the context of developments like Meta's subscription plan.

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