Meta Platforms, the American internet company, is gradually introducing Instagram and Facebook subscriptions across Europe. Starting this week, residents in the Czech Republic can now avail themselves of these services. While free access remains an option, it will include advertisements.
The primary distinction between paid and free access lies in the display of advertising. Subscribers paying a monthly fee will no longer encounter ads on the platform. The subscription cost varies based on the platform through which users access the network.
For users on traditional computers in the Czech Republic, the fee is CZK 240. However, those using smartphones and tablets with Android and iOS operating systems face a higher cost. The monthly subscription fee of CZK 299 considers fees paid to the official stores’ operators on these platforms, namely Google and Apple.
Change in Business Model Due to EU Regulations The social network’s business model has remained largely unchanged since the inception of Facebook. Both Facebook and Instagram have been free for users, with revenue generated solely from display advertising paid by individual companies aiming to reach a wide user base.
However, in late October, Meta Platforms representatives announced a shift in their approach, introducing a subscription fee for European users—specifically, those from the European Union (EU), Switzerland, and European Economic Area countries, including Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein.
This alteration aligns with Meta’s efforts to comply with EU regulatory policies, which have recently intensified scrutiny on major internet platforms and their handling of users’ personal data for targeted advertising purposes.
Responding to Privacy Concerns The European Data Protection Board ruled in early November that Meta cannot use personal data for targeted advertising. To address privacy concerns and regulatory scrutiny, Meta is now offering paid ad-free versions of Facebook and Instagram in Europe. This move provides users with an alternative to advertising services relying on personal data analysis.
Facing a Billion-Dollar Fine The Irish Data Protection Authority (DPC) imposed a €390 million (approximately CZK 9.4 billion) fine on Meta in January for its handling of personal data. Concerns were raised about the company compelling users to accept targeted advertising as a condition for using Facebook.
Europe, being the second most profitable region for Meta after North America, constitutes about 10 percent of the company’s total business, according to Susan Li, the company’s chief financial officer, as reported in April by The New York Times.