Facebook forcing Europeans to choose: pay up or agree to ads and tracking
Meta services users in Europe are receiving notifications requiring them to choose one of two options.
“In the European region, you can subscribe to use our Products without ads, or you can use them for free with ads. We've updated our terms and privacy policies to reflect these options,” write Meta’s updated terms.
The subscription, which is only available in Europe, has different prices depending on whether it is bought on Facebook.com or via the app. The online version costs €9.99 per month for one account plus €6 for each additional account, and the in-app subscription price is €12.99 plus €8 per month for each additional account.
Meta noted that until March 1st, 2024, users will only be charged a flat fee of €9.99 or €12.99 per month for any number of accounts in the same Accounts Centre, and additional accounts will be charged later.
“This means that your information across those accounts will not be used for ads, and you won't see ads on any of our Meta Products when using those accounts,” the help page reads.
However, paid users will still see posts and messages from businesses and creators, but they'll “no longer see their ads.”
Paid users won’t be able to monetize Reels
There are limitations introduced to paid users, as their ability to advertise and monetize with ads will be limited.
They won’t be able to monetize with ads on Reels and in-stream ads. Paid users also won’t be able to run ads and boost posts for Instagram and Facebook accounts, and even Facebook Pages, if they’re linked to an Instagram account with a paid subscription. Subscribers won't be able to participate in partnership ads on Instagram or Facebook.
The drastic changes have seen many sharing their disappointment with Meta’s new policy spreading on X (formerly Twitter).
“The audacity of Meta to offer to either charge €13 a month to rot our brains, or invade our privacy. Instagram and Facebook feeds are already saturated with ads – it's pure greed to demand to track our every move. I hope the EU Commission burns it down,” one X user shared.
Others were questioning the value proposition, thinking that Meta should do a better job at explaining the subscription if it really wants people to subscribe.
Free-tier users should expect the same
For those who choose to continue to use Meta products for free, the tech giant promises that the experience will stay the same.
“And that experience will continue to be supported by the tools and settings that we have created to empower people to control their ads experience,” the press release reads.
Users will be able to access their Ad Preferences, which offer some controls for the ads they see, as well as the data used to target these ads, including activity information from ad partners.
“We also have tools in our product that explain “Why am I seeing this ad?” as well as how people can manage their ad experience,” Meta promised.
Here are some examples of the information that Meta receives about you:
- Your device information
- Websites that you visit and cookie data, such as through Social plugins or the Meta pixel
- Apps you use
- Games you play
- Purchases and transactions you make off of Meta Products using non-Meta checkout experiences
- The ads you see and how you interact with them (if Meta shows you ads on Meta Products)
- How you use Meta partners' products and services, online or in-person
Then, Meta matches users' activities across the web with their accounts to provide personalized content and ads.
“We receive this information whether or not you're logged in or have an account on our Products,” Facebook’s explanation reads.
User-provided information also includes content, metadata, interactions, and purchases, hashtags, browser or app data, device signals, apps and features, location, network information, cookies, and many others.
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