Facebook may no longer be a free app to use, as spotted by Business Insider. Facebook, one of the most popular social media websites, removed its slogan it has had for over a decade. Facebook started as a free platform that gathers people together who want to connect with their friends and family, and one of the reasons it attracted so many people is because of its promise that it will always be free. However, that may no longer be the case in the future.
The change on Facebook’s homepage has been spotted by Business Insider, weeks after being changed. The slogan that encouraged new users to register was “It’s free and always will be.” However, if you go to register on Facebook now, you’ll be greeted with a new message that says “It’s quick and easy,” which is a huge step away from Facebook’s original policy that promoted free content.
Business Insider tested when this change took place using an internet archive called Wayback Machine, going back all the way to Aug. 6, which was the last time Facebook’s original slogan was seen. On Aug. 6, the registration screen shows the original tagline. However, by Aug. 7, Facebook removed its slogan and replaced it with the new one. Facebook hasn’t responded regarding this change, but people who spotted it were quick to react.
The change in Facebook’s slogan marks the beginning of a new business model, despite Facebook promoting its idea of remaining free forever throughout the years, thanks to the strong advertising-powered system that generates its revenue.
“Facebook is not free nor has it ever been,” lawyer and digital law expert José Antonio Castillo told Business Insider. “Facebook’s currency was and still is it’s users’ personal data. It’s never been free, though, because data is worth a lot of money.”
Castillo was also among the first people to tweet about this change.
Comparen estas dos imágenes. La última corresponde a hoy mismo. Parece que FB ha decidido que ya no es “gratis”. Ahora “es rápido y fácil”. ¿Cuánto cuesta ahora una cuenta de FB? Qué os parece @jgarciaherrero @manuelabat @javi_valls @idemiguelb @adsuara @davidmaeztu @victorianoi? pic.twitter.com/mIpdItJZzu
— Jose Antonio Castillo Parrilla (@CiberlawyerA) August 24, 2019
Different users on Reddit also agree with his thought, sharing that Facebook can no longer be free due to huge amounts of sensitive data it deals with every minute. In the era of data science and big data, our personal information has become the most precious thing online.
Castillo also told Business Insider that the reason Facebook silently removed its slogan without any kind of warning is because it could be pressed by a directive that the European Parliament passed earlier this year, where data exchange is considered a form of payment, which could be a logical explanation for the change of the iconic tagline.
It’s also worth noting that the original slogan of “It’s free and it always will be,” contradicts the actual terms and conditions document that Facebook has on its website. The policy, in Section 7, Clause 11 states that “We don’t guarantee that Platform will always be free.”
Are the days of Facebook being a free platform numbered? Has it in fact never been free?