Last Updated on August 28, 2019
The Facebook signup page now displays the words “it’s quick and easy” when users try to create a new account instead of “it’s free and always will be.”
The tech giant has already faced criticism over how it collects user data to sell to third party advertisers even when users are not using Facebook directly, as previously reported by National File.
Now the multinational corporation is coming under a new level of scrutiny, as it has removed the “it’s free and always will be” tagline from its signup page, leaving users to wonder whether they will be forced behind a paywall to view intersectional vegan cooking shows on Facebook Watch and get banned for memes that have an InfoWars logo.
Facebook’s promise to keep its platform free of charge for new users and content creators dates back more than a decade, and has long been considered one of the reasons the website skyrocketed to such overnight success in the early 2000s, overtaking fan favorite MySpace.
According to a report from Business Insider, it appears that Facebook quietly changed the tagline between August 6 and 7,:
Using internet archive Wayback Machine, it appears that Facebook quietly switched the slogan at some point between August 6 and August 7.
Here, the archive site shows the original slogan still in place on August 6.
However, by August 7, the slogan has been changed, removing the mention of the site being free and replacing it with “It’s quick and easy.”:
Business Insider contacted Facebook to ask why the change was made, but the company is yet to respond to our request for comment.
Of course, whether Facebook plans to charge people a monetary fee to use its service could be seen as irrelevant, in light of the fact that the platform’s users are already selling something far more valuable than currency: their personal information.
The European Union passed a directive in May that formally recognized the trafficking of user data as a form of payment for using online social networking services.
Facebook’s own Platform Policy states in Section 7, Clause 8 that “You grant us and our affiliates a non-exclusive, transferable, sublicensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of, any data, content, and other information made available by you or on your behalf in connection with the Platform feature,” adding in Clause 11, “We don’t guarantee that Platform will always be free.”