The Case For an Ad-Free Social Media Subscription

Omar Zahran
8 min readDec 9, 2020
Image Credit: Elena Koycheva via Unsplash

I remember when the idea of the DVR was first introduced through TiVo in 1999. The idea was incredible, being able to pause and record live TV. But what it also introduced was being able to record something and fast forward through commercials. Ever since then, there has been a war on commercials. One of the few things that we can probably agree on as a society is that we don’t like commercials. This has forced advertisers to focus their efforts in different ways to get the message about their products and services out to the public. One way that this has happened is through social media marketing. Companies can create a post on Twitter or Facebook and pay to have it featured on the platform. This is a way that social media websites make their money. But here is a thought, what if the social media platforms allowed for a way to bypass these ads for a small monthly fee?

Profiting Off Users

Image Credit: Morning Brew via Unsplash

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc are all free services. All that is needed to sign up for a social media site is typically a valid email address or phone number. But the cost of these free apps lies in the data provided by the user to the service. Facebook may not charge you for using its app, but the advertisers on Facebook will gladly pay Facebook to use your data to tailor an advertising experience that will make you want to spend money in their online stores. Just how much money does Facebook make off of this personal data? Roughly around $41 per user, according to some recent earnings reports from the company.

Social media websites have a lot of information on you and I that we have voluntarily offered in the filling out of our profiles. Information such as interests, visiting habits, age, gender, and much more. This information is vital information for marketing departments at companies as it helps them effectively reach their potential customers more efficiently. In some ways, Facebook and other social media companies have a business model of a modern-day billboard company.

Social media services sell the space to the company willing to advertise on its platform just like the billboard on the…