Would You Pay for an Ad-Free Version of Social Media?

Facebook and Instagram are reportedly offering a paid ad-free option in Europe

Instagram and Facebook logos
Would you pay for an ad-free social media experience?
Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Most social networks are free. There are plenty of reasons for that — including the simple feature that, if you want a wide audience for that platform, making it free to use is a good way to go about it. Economics dictates that advertising is going to play a part in paying for that platform, which can lead to some jarring moments. There’s nothing quite like reading a post or thread about a tragic news story or personal account only to be interrupted by an advertisement or sponsored post.

That dissonance might help explain why Meta is testing out a premium version of both Facebook and Instagram where users can pay to go ad-free from the experience. As Kris Holt writes at Engadget, Meta plans to debut the paid ad-free versions of these social networks in Europe in November. The cost, Holt reports, will depend on where a customer pays for the subscription — doing it online will cost €10 while paying via the app will cost €13. (That’s $10.62 and $13.80 at current exchange rates.)

Holt reports that this is being done as a way to reduce the criticism Meta has received from E.U. regulators over the targeting of ads on the social media platforms in question. Another move that will go hand-in-hand with this change involves Meta opting out of showing ads to anyone under the age of 18 in countries where premium ad-free options are available.

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How much someone is willing to pay to see no ads — or reduced ads — on social media and elsewhere is a timely topic in the tech world. As a recent report at The Hollywood Reporter pointed out, numerous streaming services are working to normalize a viewing experience with ads — including Amazon Prime, as was announced last month.

Though some platforms have emerged as cautionary tales. As Mashable pointed out earlier this year, Elon Musk’s much-touted Twitter Blue subscription did not reduce the number of ads users of the social network in question saw, as was promised. Still, it’s not hard to see the appeal of paying a monthly fee to make ads go away — if the price is right and the technology is functional.

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