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Should Facebook Charge For “Premium” Service?

Submitted by on July 24, 2013 – 9:09 amOne Comment

Uh oh, here comes the outraged status updates. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone sounded off this week, blatantly telling direct competitor Facebook that it should generate revenue by offering an ad-free experience for a monthly fee. In the past, Facebook has been adamant that it will not charge for any level of service, but that hasn’t stopped rumors about new fees from popping up almost every year.

In a blog post, Stone wrote that he had returned to Facebook after a long absence from the site, and that all of the new ads on Facebook “don’t seem particularly useful or engaging.”

But, he noted, users tolerate the ads because they keep Facebook free.

Stone goes on to propose that Facebook should then offer Facebook Premium, without ads and “[m]aybe some special features too.” He points out that if the social network charged $10 a month and just 10% of their (over one billion) users signed up, Facebook Premium could generate revenues of $1 billion a month.

But even the slightest rumors of pay-for-service have disrupted Facebook in the past. Their homepage now features the phrase “It’s free and always will be” in the section prompting people to sign up.

Even tiered service could anger staunch advocates of internet equality, as Facebook becomes viewed more and more as a necessary social utility. But Facebook has proven itself to be resilient in the face of user criticism, with no other social network able to build a sizable user base to make it a viable alternative.

What do you think? Should Facebook offer Premium service? Would you use it?

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