Misleading: Facebook will charge people for using the social networking platform.

By: Chandan Borgohain
March 2 2023

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Misleading: Facebook will charge people for using the social networking platform.


The Verdict Misleading

Users will not have to pay for using Facebook. Only those who opt for the 'Meta Verified' service will have to pay a monthly fee for added features.

Claim ID a95da9a6


Founded in 2004, the social networking website Facebook continues to be one of the most popular social online platforms, with an average of nearly 2 billion daily active users. Given its sheer size, it is not common to find false and misleading claims being made about the platform, which can often cause confusion or even panic among its users. One such claim that has many users concerned is that the social media giant will begin charging all its users. Several users have put up posts claiming that every user will be charged $4.99 a month for using Facebook unless they opt out from this with a public disclaimer. Some users also claim that they need to repost the information to other users to avoid having to pay for the service (a classic format for viral hoaxes).

Logically found that similar claims are also being shared in regional Indian languages such as Assamese. A post shared on the Facebook page of 'Prag News,' a popular news channel in Assam, also claimed that all users will soon be charged for using the platform. The page shared a graphic with text in Assamese that reads, "Facebook users will soon have to pay money, says Mark Zuckerberg.” 

In Fact

Meta, the company that owns Facebook, recently announced that it will start verification badges and enhanced features for Facebook and Instagram users willing to pay for subscriptions. However, the company did not say that it is going to charge all users for accessing its platforms. 

On February 19, in a Facebook post, Meta's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of 'Meta Verified,' the company's new subscription service. "We'll be rolling out in Australia and New Zealand this week and more countries soon," he wrote in the post. He also added that the service will cost "$11.99 / month on web or $14.99 / month on iOS" and explained that the new feature has been brought in to increase "authenticity and security" across their services. As noted by the BBC, the "move comes after Elon Musk, owner of Twitter, implemented the premium Twitter Blue subscription in November 2022". Twitter Blue is a monthly subscription with which users get a blue tick on their profiles and early access to some features.

Meta Verified is currently in a trial phase for users above 18 years of age in Australia and New Zealand and will be later rolled out in the United States and other countries, the company clarified on its website. In a post dated February 19, Meta explained that users will be required to submit their government ID documents to get their accounts verified and also get "proactive account protection, access to account support, and increased visibility and reach." Meta has also confirmed that there will be no changes to accounts that are already verified on Instagram and Facebook.

Moreover, although Meta has announced that it is rolling out a subscription model, Facebook's policies clearly state that it doesn't expect money from all its users. According to the platform, Meta Verified is intended to help "up-and-coming creators grow their presence and build community faster." When it comes to regular accounts, Facebook's Help Center continues to say: "No, we don't charge you to use Facebook. Instead, we charge advertisers to show ads on Meta Company Products. This helps us make Facebook available to everyone without charging people for access to it."

Like most other social media companies, the main source of revenue for Meta is advertising. The Guardian reported that in 2022, this advertising-based model accounted for 98 percent of Meta's $116.6 billion revenue. However, Meta reported a four percent drop in revenue in their most recent quarterly results following various privacy changes that have restricted advertisers from tracking users and targeting their specific interests and background. According to experts who spoke to The Guardian, these privacy changes, as well as potential new regulations, are being viewed by Meta as challenges to the advertising model, causing it to look for incremental revenue through other options. While the exact commercial reasons for the rollout of Meta Verified are not yet known, experts are speculating that Meta Verified is being considered as one such option.

The Verdict

Meta is testing out a paid verification service for Facebook and Instagram users, beginning with users in Australia and New Zealand. However, this does not mean that everyone will be charged for using Facebook. The viral narrative making this claim appears to have taken the announcement about the new service ‘Meta Verified’ out of context. Therefore, we mark this claim misleading.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before