No, Facebook Will Not Be Charging You To Keep Your Profiles Private

Facebook's official statement on the rumor of a $5.99/month privacy tier.

Facebook’s official statement on the rumor of a $5.99/month privacy tier.

If you’ve visited Facebook at all in the last few hours, you’ve most likely seen any number of your online acquaintances posting the terrifying news that Facebook will soon be charging users $5.99/month too keep their profiles private. It might sound believable for those who aren’t familiar with how Facebook actually makes its money, but the fact is that the company says it has no plans to start charging anyone. Even more pointless are the supposed “copyright” notices people are posting in the hopes that it will protect them.

First off, Facebook — which, yes, has a Facebook page — posted this denial on Monday night:

“While there may be water on Mars, don’t believe everything you read on the internet today. Facebook is free and it always will be. And the thing about copying and pasting a legal notice is just a hoax. Stay safe out there Earthlings!”

Regarding that legal notice — as we’ve discussed previouslymultiple times — it’s both unnecessary because, according to the Facebook terms of use, you are the copyright holder of any original content you post, and because those same terms grant Facebook a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook.”

If you’re using Facebook, you have at some point agreed to these terms whether you actually took the time to read them. Copying and pasting a notice claiming a copyright you already have does nothing to change that contract with Facebook.

Beyond all of this is the fact that Facebook does not need to start nickel-and-diming its user base to increase revenue. At its current rate, the company is on track to bring in $15 billion this fiscal year — nearly 95% of that from advertising revenue. Adding a subscription tier at this point could alienate users and slow the company’s growth.

That doesn’t mean that Facebook couldn’t go that route at some point, but if it does, that copyright notice still won’t change whatever terms you’ve already agreed to.