News Update


TikTok is experimenting with an ad-free monthly membership.

The BBC knows that the Chinese company is testing the service in an English-speaking market outside of the United States, but has reluctant to say where.

The subscription is currently being tested at $4.99 (£4.13) per month.

Meanwhile, Meta is apparently considering ad-free subscriptions for EU residents to help them negotiate the EU’s advertising laws.

TikTok now shows personalized advertisements to all users above the age of 18.

According to the news website TechCrunch, the test is on a modest scale, and there is no guarantee that a subscription would be pushed out globally.

YouTube and X, previously Twitter, are two services that already charge a monthly subscription in exchange for less or no advertisements.

ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, does not publicly disclose its financial statistics, but it is estimated to make $85 billion (£70 billion) in revenue in 2022.

According to Insider Intelligence, TikTok made $9.98 billion in advertising income last year.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, is considering charging European users who opt out of personalized advertisements on its sites.

Users would be charged around €10 (£8.68) per month to access Instagram or Facebook without customised ads on desktop, and €13 per month on mobile, according to Meta’s filing with EU authorities.

“Meta believes in the value of free services supported by personalized ads,” a Meta spokeswoman told the BBC. However, we continue to investigate methods to guarantee that we meet evolving regulatory requirements. We have nothing else to say at the moment.”

Following an EU regulation, the company announced in August that it wanted to alter its rules and obtain user authorization to display advertisements based on their personal data.

The Irish Data Protection Commission fined it €390 million in January.

According to the authority, Facebook and Instagram cannot “force consent” by requiring users to agree how their data is handled or leave the platform.

According to Brooke Erin Duffy, associate professor of communication at Cornell University, younger audiences accustomed to using social platforms may be hesitant to pay for an ad-free experience.

“From the outset, users have been socialised to think of these platforms as “free” services,” she said. “So it seems unlikely that young users, in particular, will opt for the paid, ad-free model” .

Adverts on TikTok, according to Maddie Hill, a 22-year-old Orkney Islands-based influencer and contributor to The Social, a BBC Scotland digital platform, are less invasive than those on other platforms.

“It’s not necessarily something that bothers me too much when I’m scrolling through my For You page,” she stated. “They’re short, you can usually scroll past them so they don’t overly impact the viewing experience.”

Maddie, who has 800,000 TikTok followers, continued, “Whenever I’ve used social media, I’ve always been aware of ads, and ads are always coming up, so I think there’s an element that feels like I’m used to it.”


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