Facebook to Start Charging Membership Fees? Nope

False Facebook Fee Posts

Social Networking Sites May Be Monitored By Security Services
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Online postings circulating in various forms and languages since 2009 claim Facebook has established a new membership price grid and will begin charging users a monthly fee for basic services. It wasn't true and is unlikely to change. These postings often include links to external websites with malware.

  • Description: Hoax / Malware scam
  • Circulating since: Dec. 2009
  • Status: False

May 2012 Example Post of Facebook Membership Charge

As shared on Facebook, May 16, 2012

FACEBOOK JUST RELEASED THEIR PRICE GRID FOR MEMBERSHIP. $9.99 PER MONTH FOR GOLD MEMBER SERVICES, $6.99 PER MONTH FOR SILVER MEMBER SERVICES, $3.99 PER MONTH FOR BRONZE MEMBER SERVICES, FREE IF YOU COPY AND PASTE THIS MESSAGE BEFORE MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. WHEN YOU SIGN ON TOMORROW MORNING YOU WILL BE PROMPTED FOR PAYMENT INFO...IT IS OFFICIAL IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS. FACEBOOK WILL START CHARGING DUE TO THE NEW PROFILE CHANGES. IF YOU COPY THIS ON YOUR WALL YOUR ICON WILL TURN BLUE AND FACEBOOK WILL BE FREE FOR YOU. PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON IF NOT YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DELETED IF YOU DO NOT PAY


July 2011 Example Post of Facebook Membership Charge

As shared on Facebook, July 5, 2011

It's offical. signal at 12:20 it even passed on tv. Facebook will start charging this summer. If you copy this on your wall your icon will turn blue and facebook will be free for you. Please pass this message if not your count will be deleted. p.s, this is serious the icon turns blue, So please put this as your status


December 2009 Example Post

As shared on Facebook, Dec. 28, 2009

We're leaving Facebook if they try to charge us. Invite all your friends and together we can make a stand. All the details can be found at this site [URL deleted]

Information Category:
Business - Public Relations
Description: WE'RE NOT PAYING FOR FACEBOOK
Privacy Type: Open: All content is public.

WE'RE AGAINST THE 4.99 A MONTH CHARGE FOR FACEBOOK FROM JUNE 30TH 2010


Analysis of Facebook Membership Charges Rumors

A version of this text first appeared in 2009 on a bogus Facebook page inciting users to protest an alleged plan by the company to charge a $4.99 monthly fee. Similar false claims have circulated before and since. In this particular case, members were directed to an external website that delivered malicious software to unsuspecting visitors. Facebook has since deleted the group.

While Facebook executives have never explicitly ruled out instituting fees for specific features on the site, they have repeatedly denied having plans to impose a blanket charge on all users. The question was put to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in an April 2009 interview with Business Week editor Stephen J. Adler.

"The answer is no, we are not planning on charging a basic fee for our basic services," Sandberg said. "Once again, that question stems from people thinking we're growing so quickly, we're running out of money. We're growing really quickly, but we can finance that growth. We're not going to charge for our basic services."

In 2012, there was a resurgence of this rumor apparently prompted by news that a new tool is being tested in New Zealand that would enable Facebook users to pay a fee to make posts more visible to friends.

This was a test and far different from charging all users a general membership fee.

Examples in More Languages

As shared on Facebook, June 26, 2013:

YA ES OFICIAL. SALIO EN LAS NOTICIAS .FACEBOOK ACABA DE PUBLICAR SU PRECIO DE ADHESION $9,99 POR EL SERVICIO GOLD MEMBER QUE MANTIENE TU PRIVACIDAD TAL COMO ESTA , PERO SI PEGAS ESTO EN TU MURO , SERA GRATIS DE LO CONTRARIO MAÑANA SALDRIAN TODAS PUBLICACIONES COMO PUBLICAS , INCLUSO AQUELLOS MENSAJES QUE HAYAS ELIMINADO O FOTOS QUE NO AUTORIZASTE , NADA ME COSTO COPIAR Y PEGAR

As shared on Facebook, June 26, 2013:

C'est maintenant officiel. Il est sorti dans les médias. Facebook vient de sortir son prix d'entrée, 5,99 euros, pour garder l'abonnement gold et votre vie privée comme en ce moment.Si vous collez ce message sur votre page sera offert gratuitement.Sinon demain publications peuvent devenir publiques. Même les messages qui ont été supprimés ou non autorisées de photos. Après tout, ça ne coûte rien pour copier et coller.

As shared on Facebook, June 27, 2013:

Agora é oficial. Saiu na mídia. Facebook acaba de publicar o seu preço da adesão, taxa de $5,99; para tornar membro ouro e manter a sua privacidade como está. Se você colar isto no seu mural estará livre dessa cobrança. Caso contrário, amanhã suas publicações podem tornar-se públicas Mesmo aquelas mensagens que você excluiu ou fotos quem não autorizou. EU NÃO AUTORIZO (copiem e colem) Curtir · · Compartilhar · há ± 1 hora · 1 compartilhamento. Escreva um comentário.

Sources and Further Reading:

No, Facebook Is Not Going to Charge for Their Site
AllFacebook.com, 29 December 2009

Why Facebook Will Never Charge You
Mashable.com, 30 September 2011