Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook which controls Facebook and Instagram (and the one-time hit mobile app Threads), is considering offering an ad visibility disabling service to its users, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. The service would allow users to opt out of seeing ads on Meta’s platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, but they would have to pay a monthly or annual fee for the privilege.
The report cites unnamed sources familiar with the matter, who said that Meta is still exploring the idea and has not made any final decisions. The sources also said that the fee could vary depending on the region and the level of ad removal. The service could be similar to YouTube Premium, which charges users $11.99 per month to watch videos without ads and access other features.
Meta has not confirmed or denied the report, but a spokesperson said that the company is “always exploring new ways to improve the experience for people on our apps”. Meta makes most of its revenue from advertising, which accounted for $28.6 billion in the third quarter of 2021, up 33% from a year earlier.
Some users have expressed interest in paying for an ad-free experience on Meta’s platforms, especially after the company faced backlash over its impact on privacy, democracy and mental health. However, some analysts have questioned whether Meta could attract enough paying customers to offset the loss of ad revenue, and whether such a move would create a two-tier system that favors wealthier users.
Meta already offers some options for users to control their ad preferences, such as hiding specific ads, blocking certain advertisers and adjusting their ad settings. Users can also use third-party tools, such as ad blockers, to limit or remove ads on Meta’s platforms. However, these options do not guarantee a completely ad-free experience, and some of them may affect the functionality of Meta’s services.