Facebook forcing Europeans to choose: pay up or agree to ads and tracking

Meta now demands that its European users swallow one of two pills: either pay €9.99-12.99/month to use Facebook without ads, or continue using for free, but “your info will be used for ads.” And the privacy policy is pervasive.

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 ad choices

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.”

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.

Facebook tracks much more information than the user provides themselves, its Privacy policy reveals. That includes users’ off-Facebook activity collected from other apps or services about interaction with them, such as visits, Uber rides, food delivery, and many others.

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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prefix 6 months ago
no solution announced for under 18s either - they cannot subscribe and EU law says they cannot be targeted - what now FB?
prefix 6 months ago
Absolute disgrace. There is a 3rd option - ads but no tracking, no targeting - worked well for advertisers for decades. For what it was worth, I had every possible privacy setting set that there was, but the option being given now is subscribe or *targeted* ads - you cannot even enter your account to request a download of your information or to delete it so farewell facebook, it was fun for a while but really hasnt been for a long time. I guess I should be grateful for the shove.
EU FB User
prefix 6 months ago
The problem with the article is that it list what FS promised to do and not what they actually did - the choice given to EU users is to pay or let FB collect, sell and use their personal info for ads with no option to prevent is as it was available before. What's worse the way they did it is an even bigger GDPR violation then what they ware fined for - you can't take advantage of the GDPR rights given to each EU citizen unless you pay or agree they can use/sell your personal information ...
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