Meta offers to slash its no-ads subscription fee

Meta has offered to drop the price for its ad-free Facebook and Instagram services in the EU from €9.99 to €5.99.

Meta introduced its “pay or consent” model last year, offering Facebook and Instagram users a tracking and ad-free networking experience. Immediately, it came under scrutiny by both consumer and privacy activists and regulators.

They are worried that consumers would be urged to simply consent to profiling and tracking, which is what Meta essentially wants since it's a major revenue source.

Last November, Meta introduced the “pay or consent” model to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) law, curbing the ability of tech companies to serve personalised ads.

According to Meta, the fee model seeks to balance the conflicting demands between EU privacy laws and the new tech rule DMA.

"The regulatory uncertainty at the moment is out there and it needs to settle down quickly," Meta lawyer Tim Lamb said.

The company offered to drop the price from €9.99 to €5.99 for a single account and €4 for any additional accounts.

"That is by far the lowest end of the range that any reasonable person should be paying for services of this quality, and I think that is a serious offer," Lamb said.

Privacy advocates are not happy since Facebook and Instagram users are still being ask to essentially pay for their privacy.

"We know from all research that even a fee of just €1.99 or less leads to a shift in consent from 3-10% that genuinely want advertisement to 99.9% that still click yes. The GDPR requires that consent must be 'freely' given,” said Max Schrems, Chair of advocacy group noyb, (styled from “none of your business,” a non-profit organization based in Vienna).

He added: “In reality it’s not about the amount of money – it’s about the 'pay or okay' approach as a whole. The entire purpose of 'pay or okay', is to get users to click on okay, even if this is not their free and genuine choice. We do not think the mere change of the amount makes this approach legal."

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