A New York Times publication reports that Meta is considering a very significant change to its business model. The company may launch special versions of Facebook and Instagram in European Union countries that will not be financed through advertising but through subscriptions.
Meta is one of the largest advertising companies in the world and has come into conflict with data protection authorities many times. Launching an ad-free model could help Meta allay privacy concerns raised by EU regulators.
The New York Times sources are three unnamed people with knowledge of the company's plans. The launch of a subscription model in EU member states would not necessarily have an impact on the free versions of Facebook or Instagram. Considering that very few users are willing to pay for an ad-free experience, Meta should keep the regular versions for everyone else as well.
Users from the European Union will then be able to decide whether they want to continue using Facebook and Instagram for free or buy into a subscription. The free version will continue to show ads to users, while the paid version will not.
It remains to be seen how they will track paying users….
It is currently unclear what will happen to Meta's other products, such as Threads, which is not yet available in the EU due to regulatory concerns, or WhatsApp.
While the New York Times article doesn't detail any subscription implementation, the new ad-free version will likely look a lot like other services, e.g. YouTube Premium, Spotify Premium.
Of course, the success or failure of a paid version of Facebook and Instagram largely depends on the price of a subscription. Meta could consider adding more perks to its paid plans, similar to what X offers to users who sign up for X's Premium plan.
Το εάν η Meta ενδιαφέρεται να προωθήσει μια έκδοση χωρίς διαφημίσεις των υπηρεσιών της στην ΕΕ ή το κάνει μόνο σαν choice κατευνασμού των ρυθμιστικών αρχών, θα φανεί.