Is Facebook planning to charge money from users?
With more than two billion users (still increasing), Facebook dominates as the biggest social media service on the planet. The company has been growing at a great pace, but the thing is, it has also compromised user data on several occasions. Now, in a weird turn of events, some signs have indicated that Facebook may change its business model and start charging money.
Ever since its inception, Facebook has been serving as a free-to-use platform. It provides users an opportunity to connect and share their digital life with friends, and gathers their personal data in return. This information is then sold to businesses/advertisers that show targeted ads to users via Facebook products and pay the social network for the ad space and traction.
However, recently Italian blog SmartWorld noted a small, unobservable change made to the Facebook site. They found that the tag line appearing at the facebook.com sign-up page has been changed from "It's free and always will be" to "It's fast and simple." The line was changed sometime on August 7, according to the Wayback Machine, and can even be seen in India.
We don't know what Facebook is planning here. Either this is a completely banal change that Facebook made without any motive or the company is planning to charge money, at least at some point in the future. Puzzled users are speculating over the second case, wondering if Zuckerberg might ditch the current ad-based monetization method for a paid subscription for signing up and usage.
Having said that, it's worth noting that Facebook has not clarified why exactly it made this minor, albeit confusing, change. There is nothing to be sure about at this stage, but we believe an optional subscription-based model won't do any harm. At least, that would give users a choice to decide whether they want to pay up directly or give their data.