April 16, 2021
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Don’t let the non-denials from Facebook executives fool you. While they continuously state that their primary goals are working on a Facebook that is free for everyone, that does not mean that some portions of the social network won’t cost you money.

As the privacy and big data concerns grow again in tech circles and with Zuckerberg set to testify against Congress. Will we begin to see the break up of Facebook into smaller more decentralized social networks tailored to your needs? A paid subscription model would solve a lot of these privacy concerns people have with Facebook, if they bring it open source and allow you to control your data. It would however, be very complicated to get people in non-western societies to pay for it though. Subscription models are most popular right here in the United States and that might not necessarily work well throughout the rest of the world.

However, to pay for a slimmed down version that you ultimately control is something that Zuckerberg has thought about. So has Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. She said that in order for people who don’t like ads to opt-out of them there would have to be a paid product, and it’s not something Facebook has…yet.

There’s no downside for the social media giant if they simply offer the option. 87 Million people were affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal. That data amounts to $20 a person. Investors in Facebook are not hurting and ad revenue has been up consistently over the past six years. So if 87 million people sign up for a paid version of the service (say $7 a month) that’s only more revenue to the tune of $600+ Million. And that’s only a slice of their 2 Billion users strong user base. To be clear it cannot operate like the paid versions of news sites. Facebook has to let you use the site unlimited, and the subscription model should be optional and not a popup ad that’s in your face.

There’s also been talk about how big Facebook is and how it should be regulated. My guess is that Congress has no right ideas on how to do this, or how to break Facebook up. They probably couldn’t even do it if they wanted to.

John J. Falco