Rumors about Facebook charging for the service after July have been circling the 'net, freaking everyone out. Surely born from the social network's fierce and seemingly unstoppable growth, the team behind the platform recently attempted to quell its estimated 500 million users with a simple home page change. Unfortunately, it's not working.
The statement is a bold one, and may be the key to silencing some of the groups that have popped up, such as We Should Not Have To Pay For Facebook. However, many remain skeptical-- and rightfully so.
“There are tons of users that still appear to believe that Facebook may possibly charge," wrote Nick O'Neill of All Facebook. "...like past efforts by the company, the new strategy is not likely to convince users..."
The problem lies in section 9:14 of Facebook's Terms and Conditions, which states: "We do not guarantee that Platform will always be free." The section applies only to developers and Operators of Applications and Websites, but Facebook's dirty track record doesn't afford them the benefit of the doubt.
We wonder what charging would do to the platform. While many people said they'd ditch Facebook on Quit Facebook Day, that claim quickly fizzled. Money could prove to be a more personal issue than privacy, if it does ever come up, but Facebook is so much more than a social networking platform now. These days it's getting integrated in platforms like Outlook, it's becoming a social search engine, the exposure it provides brands is golden, etc., etc.
For now, Facebook’s revenue is generated from international adverts as part of a US$ 240 million deal it signed in 2007 with Microsoft, but we suspect many would be willing to pay something like US$ 15 per year if it came to it. Conversely, many would also not be willing.
What say you?