Ad-free Facebook might get way cheaper to appease EU regulators

From The Verge: Meta says it’s offered to reduce the price of its ad-free subscription for Instagram and Facebook in Europe to address regulatory concerns, Reuters reports. Speaking in a hearing with the European Commission, Meta lawyer Tim Lamb said the company has “offered to drop the price from €9.99 to €5.99 for a single account and €4 for any additional accounts” in its discussion with privacy regulators in an attempt to “get to a steady state.”

Lamb said €5.99 is “by far the lowest end of the range that any reasonable person should be paying for services of this quality” and hoped that the “regulatory uncertainty” will “settle down quickly.” It reportedly made the offer to cut its prices to data protection authorities earlier this year.

The company launched its ad-free subscription last November after European Union regulators challenged the legal basis for its collection and processing of user data. Meta hoped that this “Subscription for no ads” program would allow it to effectively get consent to process user data under the EU’s GDPR rules as well as the Digital Markets Act. The subscription is available in the European Economic Area and Switzerland.

But the paid tier was quickly the subject of complaints from consumer groups, who’ve attacked the measure as a “pay-or-consent” smokescreen. “Meta’s offer to consumers is smoke and mirrors to cover up what is, at its core, the same old hoovering up of all kinds of sensitive information about people’s lives which it then monetises through its invasive advertising model,” the European Consumer Organisation’s (BEUC) deputy director general, Ursula Pachl, said in a statement in February.

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