Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Facebook is not about to start charging for access. I'll look at why I can say that with certainty, and why you can too.

A friend just posted this on Facebook:

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 NOT PAY...

Is it true?

No, no, a thousand times no.

This silly hoax has been going around for a long, long time and that's all it is: a hoax. There might be many problems with Facebook, but being charged for it isn't one of them.

In fact, the answer is there right in front of you every time you login.

Really.

Facebook forever free

Log out of Facebook in preparation for logging back in again and you'll see something like this:

Facebook will always be free

Note the part where it says "It's free and always will be."

Question answered. Facebook is not going to charge for access.

If you're ever not sure, just log out and re-read the sign-in page. As long as it says "It's free and always will be", anything that says otherwise is a hoax, plain and simple.

Anything.

How Facebook makes money

With lord-knows how many subscribers, it would seem that charging for access would be a logical step to raise revenue.

Facebook doesn't need it.

It's more important to Facebook to have as many users as possible - for free - so that it can make money in another way.

Advertising.

I know, because I've paid for Facebook advertising in the past.

And if you look to the right on your Facebook page, you'll see ads.

I'm guessing, but I'm sure that Facebook makes more in advertising per subscriber than they would by charging for access - particularly given the number of users that would leave if they did.

Heck, the best thing that could happen to Google+ would be if Facebook started charging for access.

It's not going to happen. It just doesn't make sense.

Facebook itself has been clear all along

Facebook's been really clear about it. This FAQ from their help center pretty much says it all:

Will Facebook ever charge for service?

No. We will always keep Facebook a free service for everyone.

So please ignore anything that says otherwise, and for heaven's sake, don't go sharing the hoax.

But, but ... things could change!

I suppose. But the text in their login page would change, the answer to the FAQ would change, and you'd hear about it from legitimate news sources rather than some status update with some completely unknown origin (and they certainly wouldn't do it in ALL CAPS).

As I said, it simply doesn't pass the sniff test - it doesn't make sense.

It's not going to happen.

Period.

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Article C4939 - September 25, 2011 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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6 Comments
michael chait
September 27, 2011 9:42 AM

it is important to correct people whose facts statements are unsubstantiated.

Josh
September 27, 2011 9:52 AM

Getting really fed up with this hoaxes. Not just that one, other hoaxes such as copy and paste warnings of malware attacks and again they never check to see if it's a hoax or not. Just wish they use common sense for a change.

Bill F
September 27, 2011 11:20 AM

Common sense is a relatively rare commodity. Especially when people are in an area where they really are not knowedgeable.

The down side of computers and communications being common and cheap is that you no longer need to have the higher level of knowledge and interest in them to be able to use them.

These hoaxes and many others will be trapping the gullible for all time and you can expect them to increase.

Ken B
September 27, 2011 11:21 AM

I posted a "slightly modified" :-) version of that as my Facebook status. (Changed all the amounts to zeros. Added a few "won't"s and "not"s along the way. You get the idea.)

A friend of mine commented that it was a hoax going around and wasn't true. I told her to carefully re-read my post.

Heh - I almost did that, until I realized that you wouldn't be promoting a hoax and thus I read it more closely. Smile
Leo
30-Sep-2011

Mike
September 27, 2011 3:48 PM

I've found Facebook (MySpace, Twitter, etc) to be pointlessly insipid and certainly would never PAY for the "privilege." Not sure I can imagine the "benefit" that would legitimize such a hoax for others.

steven
February 1, 2012 4:04 PM

Facebook just went public, hopefully nothing else will change. I do not know enough, like does Mark Z. still control the company? Why did myspace fail?

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