20231030 meta
Only people aged 18 and over will be able to buy subscriptions. Image Credit: Reuters

Brussels: Meta announced on Monday that Facebook and Instagram users in Europe will be able to buy subscriptions to use the social networks without any advertising from next month.

"To comply with evolving European regulations, we are introducing a new subscription option in the EU, EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland," it said in a statement.

The company has taken the decision after a series of tougher European Union rules intended to rein in big tech, including the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

The EU's rules are a risk to Meta's lucrative revenue from advertising since they seek to curb its use of users' data without consent.

Meta said European users can subscribe for a fee of 9.99 euros ($10.50) a month on the web, or 12.99 euros on mobile phones using iOS and Android systems.

Users will still be able to enjoy the platforms for free with advertising, but the information of those who pay "will not be used for ads", Meta said.

Only people aged 18 and over will be able to buy subscriptions.

Meta believes that taking this move will assuage EU regulators' concerns over its data collection and how ads are targeted.

"The option for people to purchase a subscription for no ads balances the requirements of European regulators while giving users choice and allowing Meta to continue serving all people in the EU, EEA and Switzerland," it said.

Meta also pointed to the EU's landmark Digital Markets Act (DMA), which aims to curb how big tech does business online, with stricter rules on advertising.

The rules will apply from March 2024.

Tech titans like Meta also have to adhere to stricter rules on advertising under another law known as the Digital Services Act which demands greater policing of content online.

"We respect the spirit and purpose of these evolving European regulations, and are committed to complying with them," Meta said.