Meta has announced its plan to comply with European rules. For now, it seems hard to believe that the company will come to an agreement with the representatives of the European Union.
In practice, Facebook and Instagram can be used in Europe in one of two possible ways. One is free but users will have to agree to personalized ads. The premium model will be ad-free, but it will come with a subscription fee, and a rather high one at that.
According to data shared by the Wall Street Journal, users who are not willing to share personal data with Meta will have to fork out $14 for a monthly subscription to Instagram. A monthly subscription for Instagram, along with Facebook on desktop will cost $17. For comparison, a premium subscription to X costs 8 dollars. Netflix users, on the other hand, shell out 10 euros for a premium subscription. A subscription to the Microsoft 365 Basic package costs $2.
The logic behind the different pricing is hard to grasp. You pay 10 euros for a Facebook or Instagram web version but an additional 6 euros for linked profiles. For the mobile version, the prices are 13 euros per month because the price includes the commission charged by Apple and Google.
Although Facebook and Instagram will have the functionality to add a subscription, such an offer will not exist for users outside of Europe. With Meta adding the option for users from the rest of the world to subscribe in exchange for more privacy, it seems the social network still prefers to show users personalized ads.
Facebook’s plan is not without risk, however. The social network hopes that the proposal will be accepted by European legislators. So far, there is no official news that Europe has accepted or rejected the proposal.
Lawmakers in Europe could decide that Meta isn’t doing enough, and the company won’t be allowed to serve personalized ads to users in Europe under any circumstances. In addition, the committee could rule that the amount of the subscription is too high for most people, and scrap the whole proposal altogether. If that happens, the future of Facebook and Instagram will hang in the balance.
Aside from Meta, TikTok also announced a subscription model
Meta is just one of the companies working on subscription for a better experience. The platform for short video content sharing -TikTok has announced that it is also testing the waters with a possibility of a subscription.
The functionality was first spotted in the app’s code by Android Authority. Today, an official confirmation came from TikTok. The company confirmed in a statement to TechCrunch that it is testing a subscription model. For subscribers, the app will remain the same as before, but no ads will be shown to them.
This only applies to ads displayed by TikTok; ads can still come from the content creators, the platform.
Tests have begun, but, for the time being, they are only in the United States. Of course, if TikTok gets stuck in the limbo like Meta, the subscription offer could be used as a leverage.
On September 15, European legislators fined TikTok 345 million euros for failing to protect children’s privacy. The penalty was imposed for omissions made in the second half of 2020. The investigation showed that with the default settings, all profiles, including those of children, are public, which allows everyone to have access to the videos and be able to comment.
Since 2021, most of the offenses for which TikTok has been fined have been overcome.
In April, Britain fined TikTok 12.7 million pounds for insufficient protection of children’s privacy.