Paid Facebook for Private Users – Would You Pay to Stop Facebook Adverts – Or Compromise Security to Keep it Free?
The Facebook fiasco that hit us in April, specifically pertaining to the major breach of information by Cambridge Analytica which saw the personal data of up to 87 million users, mostly in the U.S. being obtained by an analytics firm that, among its other work, helped elect President Donald Trump, has left global Facebook users in one of two courts; they’re either no longer Facebook users, or they’re really, really angry ones.
“In response to that revelation, lawmakers and regulators in the U.S. and U.K. increased their scrutiny of the social media giant, and at least some Facebook users canceled their accounts. The uproar has only added to the pressure on Facebook and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg over how the company was used during the 2016 presidential campaign to spread Russian propaganda and phony headlines.”
After a 5 hour seating whereby the Facebook CEO had to tirelessly defend his actions and those of his company, Mark Zuckerberg did his utmost to appease the worries of users around the world. In less than no time, there’s been speculation of the introduction of paid Facebook for private users. Yes, you read that right. Facebook may appropriate the use of a monthly $11.00 subscription (roughly R130.00 per month) to access the social media site without any advertising forming part of your daily Facebook experience.
Without expert opinion, this may be a potentially huge pitfall. It leaves us begging the question as to whether users who opt to remain on “free” Facebook will have their data security compromised, especially in the wake of the huge breach that has just occurred.
“Would being asked to pay Facebook to remove ads make you appreciate their value or resent them even more? As Facebook considers offering an ad-free subscription option, there are deeper questions than how much money it could earn. Facebook has the opportunity to let us decide how we compensate it for social networking. But choice doesn’t always make people happy.
In February I explored the idea of how Facebook could disarm data privacy backlash and boost well-being by letting us pay a monthly subscription fee instead of selling our attention to advertisers. The big takeaways were:
- Mark Zuckerberg insists that Facebook will remain free to everyone, including those who can’t afford a monthly fee, so subscriptions would be an opt-in alternative to ads rather than a replacement that forces everyone to pay
- Partially decoupling the business model from maximizing your total time spent on Facebook could let it actually prioritize time well spent because it wouldn’t have to sacrifice ad revenue
- The monthly subscription price would need to offset Facebook’s ad earnings. In the US & Canada Facebook earned $19.9 billion in 2017 from 239 million users. That means the average user there would have to pay $7 per month
What’s Best For Everyone?
This conversation is relevant because Zuckerberg was asked twice by congress about Facebook potentially offering subscriptions. Zuckerberg endorsed the merits of ad-supported apps, but never ruled out letting users buy a premium version. “We don’t offer an option today for people to pay to not show ads” Zuckerberg said, later elaborating that “Overall, I think that the ads experience is going to be the best one. I think in general, people like not having to pay for a service. A lot of people can’t afford to pay for a service around the world, and this aligns with our mission the best.”
But that word ‘today’ gave a glimmer of hope that we might be able to pay in the future.
What would we be paying for beyond removing ads, though? Facebook already lets users concerned about their privacy opt out of some ad targeting, just not seeing ads as a whole. Zuckerberg’s stumping for free Internet services makes it seem unlikely that Facebook would build valuable features and reserve them for subscribers.
Spotify only lets paid users play any song they want on-demand, while ad-supported users are stuck on shuffle. LinkedIn only lets paid users’ message anyone they want and appear as a ‘featured applicant’ to hirers, while ad-supported users can only message their connections. Netflix only lets paid users…use it at all.
People often don’t see worth in what they get for free. Being confronted with a price tag could make them more cognizant of the value exchange they’re voluntarily entering. Social networking costs money to operate, and they have to pay somehow. Seeing ads keeps Facebook’s lights on, its labs full of future products, and its investors happy.”
It may still be in the realm of speculation, but what would (or will?) you do? Are you willing to pay for Facebook to have an ad-free, and potential risk free experience, or are you keeping to the free version with sponsored adverts?
Special thanks to TechCrunch.com for the great info.