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Is Facebook Still Free to Use?

Published: Jan 01, 2020

You don’t have to pay a subscription fee to enjoy the social networking benefits of Facebook, but is it really free? Have you been paying for Facebook all along, by giving the social media giant valuable personal information that allows them to deliver targeted advertising back at you? That question was underscored in August 2019 when Facebook's sign-up page was altered, ever so slightly. The site used to tell the public that “It’s free and always will be,” but now the message reads: “It’s quick and easy.” Facebook didn’t announce the change, and has been cagey about what it all means. Analysts, however, say that it’s probably just a more honest statement, especially given the European Parliament’s official statement in May, recognizing that exchanging data is actually a form of payment.

A site millions now like:

  • TheFacebook was launched on February 3, 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and his college roommates at Harvard University. By 2006, anyone over the age of 13 could access the site with a valid e-mail address.
  • Zuckerberg wrote the software for a site called FaceMash during his sophomore year in 2003. Facebook’s predecessor allowed visitors to compare photos of female students, and decide which coed was more attractive.
  • Facebook was first incorporated in 2004 as a Florida limited-liability corporation. Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin bore the cost of running the site until venture capitalist Peter Thiel became the first investor, paying $500,000 USD for a 10.2 percent stake.
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