Would You Pay For Facebook?

If I told you that Facebook planned to start charging its users $2.99 per month in three days, would you still use it?  Or, outraged at the sudden change, would you immediately delete your account, bidding “goodbye” to the one of the largest social networking sites on the Internet?

National Report released an article in September of 2014 stating that Facebook would start implementing charges. Reacting to apparent statements from CEO Mark Zuckerberg and spokesperson Paul Horner that claimed “the ads on Facebook were not as profitable as [they] had planned,” commenters shared the overwhelming opinion that Facebook was not worth the cost.

Well, lucky for us, the National Report is a satirical news source and Paul Horner, the ‘spokesperson,’ is an alias the site commonly uses when fabricating stories.

With the hoax brought to light, Facebook users can breathe a sigh of relief.  However, a new question is brought forth: Would you pay to use Facebook?

Social media has taken the world by storm—proficiency in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter has become a ‘skill’ to list on your résumé.  However, of the three, it is common to hear that Facebook is old and outdated—that no one really uses it.  Many will admit to absentmindedly scrolling through their news feed with no real purpose.  While this may just a be a causal statement said among peers, investment bank Piper Jaffray conducted a survey that confirmed that the usage of Facebook by teens between the ages of 13 and 19 has plummeted from 72 percent to 48.

Originally used as a means to keep in contact with friends and family, Facebook has expanded beyond that, becoming a news source of its own.  Upon opening the news feed, everything that is happening around the world is at your fingertips—the latest gossip in Hollywood, sales from your favorite stores, your friend from high school’s recent drama—all of it is right there.

For some people who have ‘liked’ famous news stations’ pages, it is a convenient way to see the latest stories without having to go from website to website.  For high school and college students, it is a way for officers of clubs to keep the members updated and involved.  In fact, many St. John’s organizations utilize Facebook for making groups and creating events.  Also, many students used Facebook to meet fellow Johnnies prior to the start of the school year.

Without a doubt, Facebook has greatly simplified the task of staying in touch with others.  However, people managed to do so before Zuckerberg.  Emails, phones calls, letters—while they may seem outdated to those of us raised in this technological storm—are still used.  In fact, many college students have found themselves checking their emails more in one week than in their 18 years prior to entering university. Let’s face it, professors will not post on Facebook if their classes are cancelled.

It seems like it is irreplaceable, but it is not.

For most Facebook users, when push comes to shove, the cost is not worth the gain.  For every benefit it has to offer, there is a different way to achieve the same goal. The Internet is home to all of the news channels, clubs often have email lists and Instagram, Twitter and many other trending apps are free sources of entertainment (in fact, currently, all but one app trending in the Google Play store are free).

So Facebook, in the words of Beyoncé, “don’t you ever for a second get to thinking you’re irreplaceable.”