Meta just launched its first ad-free option for Facebook and Instagram. The update is in response to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, passed in 2018. Subscriptions for the ad-free experience are only available to users located in the EU as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
In these locations, anyone 18 and older on Facebook or Instagram now gets to decide whether they want to use the social media platforms for free or pay €10 every month for ad-free access. Meta provides the ad-free option without charge to users who are younger than 18.
What happens if you sign up? “We don’t use any data for ad purposes at all. That turns off first-party data as well as stopping any third parties, like Nike, sending us information about you,” says Alex Dziedzan, a policy communication spokesperson at Meta. While it won’t be used for targeted advertising, Meta confirms that first-party data about you will still be used for functions not related to advertising.
Users who choose the free option allow Meta to perform targeted advertising by tracking their information. The company previously argued that consent was not required to target adults in the EU with hyper-specific advertising—before changing course and rolling out this new subscription tier for Facebook and Instagram. Earlier in 2023, Meta received a billion dollar fine for transferring data on European users to the United States.
When will this option roll out in the US? It’s unlikely Meta will ever offer an ad-free experience for users in the US, unless American lawmakers pass more aggressive legislation to regulate data privacy.
How to Get Ad-Free Facebook
If it’s an option that’s available in your region, you can expect to see a pop-up the next time you log in to Facebook or Instagram with a sign-up option for the ad-free social media. “This is part of our process for getting consent under the GDPR,” says Dziedzan. “It’s a requirement for us to make sure that everyone sees the choice that they can make.” He emphasizes that Meta is not hiding this new option from users.
A subscription to ad-free Facebook or Instagram costs €10 per month if you sign up on your desktop. Anyone who signs up through the smartphone app pays €3 more a month for the subscription. No matter where your subscription starts, the ad-free plan includes both in-app and web browsing.
Want to sign up later? You can find the option in the Settings of your Facebook or Instagram account. Return to the same place if you ever want to get rid of your Meta subscription.