Meta may scrap ads on Facebook and Instagram in Europe

Meta is reportedly considering paid versions of Facebook and Instagram that would ban ads in Europe.

The cost of the subscription and potential rollout date has not yet been confirmed by the company.

However, Meta will continue to offer free versions of its apps which will still serve ads regardless, according to the New York Times.

Why we care. Depending on user adoption, this could significantly affect brand reach and campaign performance. While an ad-free subscription service is currently under consideration for Europe, it may extend to the US in the future. Advertisers should closely watch this development as they may need to consider reallocating their ad spend to other platforms accordingly.

Why now? A Meta subscription service has been suggested in response to the European Union’s Digital Services Act, which comes into effect on 1 January 2024.

Under the new regulations, more onus is being put on large platforms that have more than 45 million regional users, such as Google and Meta, to:

  • Create a safer digital space.
  • Establish a level playing field for businesses.

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What has Meta said? The company has not commented on launching paid-for versions of Facebook and Instagram. However, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted in 2018 when he appeared before the US Senate that such a product could be on the horizon. When asked if he would consider charging users for access to his apps to avoid ads, he said:

  • “There will always be a version of Facebook that is free.

Then Meta COO, Sheryl Sandberg, added:

  • We have different forms of opt-out. We don’t have an opt-out at the highest level. That would be a paid product.”

Deep dive. Read Meta’s statement on the DSA, issued by Nick Clegg, President, Global Affairs, for more information.

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