Is Facebook about to start charging money? ‘Free’ promise disappears off site

Rob Waugh
Contributor
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Facebook’s trademark promise, ‘It’s free, and always will be,’ has abruptly disappeared off the site, sparking a round of gossip.

Instead, under the box where you sign up to Mark Zuckerberg’s social network, it now says, ‘It’s quick and easy.’

The change was picked up by social media experts including Matt Navarra - as it’s the first time since 2008 the home page doesn’t carry a promise the service is free.

Repeated Facebook hoaxes have claimed that Facebook is planning to charge money for its service, but Facebook has always denied the stories.

On its Common Myths About Facebook page, the company says, ‘Facebook is a free site and will never require that you pay to continue using the site.

‘You do, however, have the option to make purchases related to games, apps and other items.

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‘In addition, if you choose to use Facebook from your mobile phone, keep in mind that you'll be responsible for any fees associated with internet usage and/or text messaging as determined by your mobile carrier.’

In reality, the change is probably due to a shift in perceptions about Facebook and its services, said Mark Bartholomew, a professor of intellectual property and cyber law at the University of Buffalo, in an interview with USA Today.

Bartholomew said, ‘The public, no longer sees Facebook as 'free', that rings hollow now.

‘It's almost a cliché to say that you are the product, but everyone now realises that Facebook tracks you and beams ads to you. It's not a public service.’

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