Claim: Facebook is going to introduce a charge to use their website.
Date(s) active: on-going
Originated from: various
Fake claims that Facebook is going to introduce an imminent charge or fee to continue using their social media website often spread across the Internet, most commonly shared between users “copying and pasting” various status updates. The rumour has also appeared on numerous blogs since at least 2008, and the rumour resurfaces in one form or another at least a handful of times each year since.
A popular example can be seen below –
Now it’s official! It is published in the media. Facebook has just released his entry price: € 5,99 to keep the subscription gold of your status of life “private”. If you paste this message on your page, it will be offered free (I said paste not share) if not tomorrow, all your posts can become public. Even the messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. After all, it does not cost anything for a simple copy and paste
This example first appeared in 2013, but older versions exist. Like many messages purporting a phantom charge, this message makes the additional assertion that Facebook users can bypass the proposed fee by copying and pasting the message to their own status for their friends to see. Of course this is actually a mechanism to help the rumour spread across social media.
Other popular versions have spread throughout the years, including the popular “your icon will turn blue” permutation that claims by keeping your account free, your Facebook icon will “turn blue”. You can see an example below which we picked up in 2015 –
It’s official. Signed at 12:20. It even passed on TV. Facebook will start charging this summer. If you copy this to your wall your icon will turn blue and your Facebook will be free for you. Please pass this message, if not your icon will be deleted.
P.S. this is serious, the icon will turn blue.
(Copy and paste this to your wall)
This variant is actually a direct rip-off to a near identical hoax that targeted users of the now-discontinued MSN Messenger back in the early 00’s. That earlier hoax had similar wording, only it asserted the message must be sent to a certain number of Messenger contacts to avoid the alleged cost. The same variant of hoax has also since targeted WhatsApp users as well.
Another rehash of the icon turning blue went viral in 2012 –
Attention! Tomorrow morning, when you connect to facebook, youll be invited to payment info… its official, it was even on the news. Facebook will begin a charge because of the change of profile. If you copy this on your wall your icon will be blue, and facebook will be free for you. Thank you
Another turning your blue icon variant again went viral in 2017 –
From Saturday morning facebook will become chargeable. If you have at least 10 contacts send them this message. In this way we will see that you are an avid user and your logo will become blue ( 🔵) and will remain free. (As discussed in the paper today. Facebook will cost 0.01ps per message. Send this message to 10 people. When you do the light will turn blue otherwise facebook will activate billing.
In 2014, a fake news article once again spurred rumours about a charge from Facebook, thanks to a story from fake news website National Report.net that claimed –
At a press conference this morning, Facebook rolled out their new monthly service plan which begins November 1st of this year. The social media giant says they will start charging members $2.99/mo to use the services that the site has to offer.
“After thinking long and hard about this decision, at the end of the day, we were forced to add this monthly fee,” Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters. “If we don’t do something about our rising costs now, Facebook could cease to exist in the near future.”
More recent examples have proved to be just as popular. In 2016, this much longer version of the same hoax wanted readers to send the message directly to 18 of your Facebook friends or risk having to pay to use the social networking website…
Hi I’m Carlos The Director of facebook THURSDAY WE ARE NOTIFIED BY HOTMAIL, HAPPENED ON THE TELE BY THE DOUBTS !!
Hello everyone, it seems that all the warnings were real, facebook use will cost money
If you send this string to 18 different from your list, your icon will be blue and it will be free for you.
If you do not believe me tomorrow at 6 pm that facebook will be closed and to open it you will have to pay, this is all by law.
This message is to inform all our users, that our servers have recently been very congested, so we are asking for your help to solve this problem. We require that our active users forward this message to each of the people in your contact list in order to confirm our active facebook users if you do not send this message to all your facebook contacts then your account will remain inactive with the consequence of Lose all your cont the transmission of this message. Your SmartPhone will be updated within the next 24 hours, will have a new design and a new color for the chat. Dear Facebook users, we are going to do an update for facebook from 23:00 p.m. until 05:00 a.m. on this day. If you do not send this to all your contacts the update will be canceled and you will not have the possibility to chat with your facebook messages
Will go to pay rate unless you are a frequent user. If you have at least 10 contacts
Send this sms and the logo will turn red to indicate that you are a user
Confirmed … We finish it for free Tomorrow they start to collect the messages for facebook at 0.37 cents Forward this message to more than 9 people of your contacts and it will be free of life for you to watch and it will turn green the ball of above do it and you will see
Facebok is now free, send 10 people to reactivate your service again without cost
I already updated
Facebook and have new stickers forward it to 15 666355466
Again, a very similar version of this example spread targeted WhatsApp users instead of Facebook users.
Despite the proliferation of rumours purporting an imminent charge to use Facebook, Facebook is free. In fact it always will be free, since Facebook uses a business model that relies on exposing a large user base to third party advertising using the information their users willingly upload to their site.
Facebook even put a “it’s free and always will be” caveat on their login page, as you can see below.
So if you see any rumour purporting a charge to use Facebook, you know it’s going to be a hoax.