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Meta considers paid subscriptions for European users amidst privacy challenges

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Meta may soon offer a subscription service in wake of EU privacy laws Credits: Facebook Meta

Europe's stringent privacy regulations have presented significant challenges for social media companies, which are now required to obtain explicit consent from users before collecting and processing their personal data. This poses a particular challenge for Meta, the US company behind Facebook and Instagram, as its revenue heavily relies on extensive data collection and precise user profiling, essential for targeted advertising—a core aspect of its business model.

In response to these privacy hurdles, Meta is contemplating the introduction of a paid subscription service. This service would provide users with the option to opt out of advertising while allowing Meta to mitigate potential revenue losses resulting from increased privacy measures.

Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) grants users the right to data portability and deletion. Consequently, social media companies must provide users with the ability to export their data to other platforms or have it deleted upon request.

Meta's vast data collection encompasses user demographics, interests, and behaviour, which it leverages to empower advertisers to target their campaigns. Advertisers can handpick specific audience segments, ensuring that their ads reach users who are more likely to express interest in their products or services.

Data collection is central to platforms’ revenue

As legislative scrutiny on social media platforms intensifies and privacy regulations tighten further, Meta is reportedly exploring the concept of offering a paid version of its services. This move, as reported by the New York Times, would represent a departure from Meta's original mission, which was to provide free social networking and connect people worldwide when it launched nearly two decades ago.

The landscape is still evolving with the ongoing development of the Digital Services Act, which aims to combat illicit content, establish transparency in advertising, and prevent major tech companies from disseminating disinformation.

While Meta has not disclosed the pricing details for a potential subscription service, this strategic shift underscores the company's commitment to adapting to a changing privacy landscape while addressing evolving user expectations and regulatory pressures.

Meta Platforms Inc