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Meta Slashes Facebook, Instagram Fees by Half

Meta Platforms has announced a significant reduction in its monthly subscription fees for Facebook & Instagram
March 20, 2024

Amidst mounting scrutiny from privacy and antitrust regulators, Meta Platforms has proposed a significant reduction in its monthly subscription fees for Facebook and Instagram in Europe. The move, revealed by a senior Meta executive, aims to assuage concerns raised by privacy activists and consumer groups regarding Meta's subscription service, which critics argue essentially charges users to safeguard their privacy.

In response to regulatory pressures and in compliance with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), Meta launched the subscription service last November. However, the service, designed to mitigate Meta's reliance on personalized advertisements without user consent, has faced backlash, prompting the company to reevaluate its pricing strategy.

Meta's proposed price cut from 9.99 euros to 5.99 euros for a single account and 4 euros for additional accounts represents a significant adjustment. Tim Lamb, a Meta lawyer, emphasized the company's commitment to providing quality services at an affordable price point, acknowledging the need to navigate the current regulatory uncertainty swiftly.

However, not all stakeholders are convinced by Meta's pricing adjustments. Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems contends that the issue extends beyond the fee itself, highlighting concerns regarding the "pay or okay" approach, which may compromise the genuine consent of users under the GDPR.

The ongoing European Commission hearing serves as a platform for Meta's users and third parties to seek clarity on the company's compliance with the DMA. Meta's reduced subscription offer, initially proposed to regulators earlier this year, is now subject to discussions with data protection authorities, particularly the Irish watchdog.

While users who consent to tracking continue to access Meta's services for free, the company faces potential fines of up to 10% of its annual global turnover for DMA violations. As Meta navigates this regulatory landscape, its response to pricing concerns underscores the delicate balance between privacy rights and revenue models in the digital age.

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