Facebook is no longer free: here’s why

Since early August, the words "It's free and will be free forever" have disappeared from Facebook to make way for "It's fast and easy." What's changed? Here's why

Facebook's home page changed at the beginning of August, though almost no one noticed since most of us log in directly to our personal profiles. However, if you pay attention to the words on the homepage, you'll notice some changes: now Facebook is no longer "free and it will be free forever".

If you access the homepage of the social network when you're not logged in, you'll see the advertising claim used by Facebook to convince users to sign up to the platform. Now, however, Facebook membership "It s fast and easy". The change of slogan is present both in the U.S. home page and in those of other countries where Facebook is active, including Italy. So now Mark Zuckerberg's social network is no longer free? What has changed? But, above all, why did Facebook decide after so many years to change?

Facebook for free: what has changed

In reality nothing has changed, as in reality Facebook has never really been free. The old saying "If you're not paying for it, the product is you" has always been very apt for this social network that, as we know very well by now, invoices billions of euros by selling advertising space to third parties based on information collected on our tastes, preferences, friends. Facebook, therefore, will not start asking us for money to keep our profile online because, at the end of the day, it is much more convenient for its 2.4 billion users to pay nothing.

Question of definitions

If Facebook is free, but earns money from the collection of our data, it should say so clearly on the home page before we sign up. That's what many people think and it's more or less what the Italian Antitrust Authority (AGCM) is officially asking in Italy. Also in the United States and in other European countries there are similar requests against Facebook that, however, at the moment has not inserted anything similar on its site and app. Removing the phrase "It's free and it will be free forever," then, could also be a move to avoid further problems.

It will almost all be free

A team that wins can't be changed, the saying goes. So it is very unlikely that Facebook will change its commercial policies or business model and start charging us to connect to our profile. Also because the budgets confirm that not doing it makes more than doing it. What could change instead, in the not so distant future, are Facebook Watch and the future News tab. For video Facebook could choose to charge us a subscription, similar to that required by the various Netflix & Co, while for the news is under negotiation with publishers that could lead Facebook to ask for a subscription, and then turn part of it to the newspapers we read through the social.