Icons of various social media apps on a smartphone screen.

Facebook to Charge Members Monthly Fees?

Various emails and Facebook group pages have claimed for many years that the popular Internet social network will begin charging members for its use. Some say that the fees may run up to £$14.99 (about $24.13 U.S.) per month. Later versions say that Facebook has released a new price grid for members with monthly fees as low as $3.99.

The Truth:

In September 2011, Facebook made some modifications to their popular social media network, inspiring an old, well-worn hoax to rise once again from the ashes. This eRumor began circulating in 2010, when it first said that its users would be charged $24.13 per month to access Facebook. It re-emerged in July 2011 and again the following September after the site added some modifications to its pages.

The social network does not need to charge members monthly fees, because it makes most of its revenue from advertising, using data that it gathers from its users in order to hypertarget them via personality modeling and algorithms. “Facebook Inc’s growth into a digital advertising power is showing a flip side: The social network is more dependent than ever on the cyclical ad market, even as its rival Google finds new revenue streams in hardware and software,” reported Reuters in 2017:

Facebook reported on Wednesday that 98 percent of its quarterly revenue came from advertising, up from 97 percent a year earlier and 84 percent in 2012. Revenue from non-advertising sources fell to $175 million in the quarter, from $181 million a year earlier.

Facebook has warned for some time about declining non-ad revenue. That part of its business consists almost entirely of video game players on desktop computers buying virtual currency, and it has fallen as gaming has moved to smartphones.

Facebook takes 30 percent of purchases, with the balance going to companies such as Zynga Inc, maker of the game Farmville.

“We have no plans to charge users for Facebook’s basic services,” a Facebook spokesperson told the Telegraph the year before. “Facebook is a free service for its 350 million users.” That article said that the rumors about Facebook charging for its content appears to have come from a hoax email circulated on the site.

In 2019, as Facebook endured scandal after scandal over its propensity for, among other things, selling personal user data — or indeed, just giving it away — this rumor appeared yet again. However, while the beleaguered site may be changing its ways in the future, it has made no announcement about charging for user access, nor has the network even hinted at it.