Perhaps you saw a friend post a message over the weekend that Facebook is planning to charge for “gold,” “silver” and “bronze” membership services. This rumor became so widespread, Facebook was forced to address it on their own page last night.
The false rumor: FACEBOOK JUST RELEASED THEIR PRICE GRID FOR MEMBERSHIP. $9.99 PER MONTH FOR GOLD MEMBER SERVICES, $6.99 PER MONTH FOR SILVER MEMBER SERVICES, $3.99 PER MONTH FOR BRONZE MEMBER SERVICES, FREE IF YOU COPY AND PASTE THIS MESSAGE BEFORE MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. WHEN YOU SIGN ON TOMORROW MORNING YOU WILL BE PROMPTED FOR PAYMENT INFO...IT IS OFFICIAL IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS. FACEBOOK WILL START CHARGING DUE TO THE NEW PROFILE CHANGES. IF YOU COPY THIS ON YOUR WALL YOUR ICON WILL TURN BLUE AND FACEBOOK WILL BE FREE FOR YOU. PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON IF NOT YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DELETED IF YOU DO NO PAY
You know a cut and pasted message has to be true if it’s in all caps, right?
The response from Facebook: “A rumor on the internet caught our attention. We have no plans to charge for Facebook. It's free and always will be.”
“Free to use,” anyway. The hidden cost to users is a lack of privacy, and as Nik Cubrilovic, who describes himself as a serial entrepreneur, writer, and hacker, notes in this blog post, Facebook can track every page you visit, even if you’re logged out. The UK government has come out and said they don’t trust Facebook with customer data.
As with any free product, same as Google, people are the product. Advertisers are the users.
As for the rumors of Facebook charging for its services, these are nothing new. We’ve seen them off and on since 2009.
While the timing isn’t surprising, considering the backlash to numerous changes rolled out last week, including the big changes to profiles announced at f8 last week, it still shows that there are some gullible people on social networks who don’t bother to check facts.
Facebook will take in $3.8 billion in ad revenue globally this year and $4.27 billion total, eMarketer forecasts. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is one of the richest men in the world, and will get even richer next year, when Facebook is expected to go public.