Amidst the “No, Senators” and “Yes, Senators” in the congressional testimony of Mark Zuckerberg that was held today, the CEO of Facebook may have leaked an idea regarding a huge change for his social media platform: a paid version of Facebook.
Orrin Hatch (R-UT), a senator from the United States, grilled Mark Zuckerberg regarding how Facebook could both safeguard the data of its users and support its ad-based business model as a free service for its users. Hatch asked the Facebook CEO whether Facebook would always be free, and Zuckerberg answered: “Yes, there will always be a version of Facebook that is free.”
If people were able to catch that, the phrase “A version of Facebook that is free.” may mean that there could be another version of the social media platform that is paid.
However, honestly, it is more likely that Mark Zuckerberg is just attempting to avoid definitive statements regarding his business while on the record and not necessarily giving a hint regarding his future plans for his business.
Previously, Facebook has stuck pretty hard to its insistence on offering free services. Days prior to the Senate testimony, Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, stood by the “ad-based business model” of the company when she made the rounds with the media.
On Today, Sandberg stated:”We have an ad-based business model, and that is something that I know people have a lot of questions about. So I’m really glad to have the chance to answer those questions. We feel very strongly that an ad-based product, which is free for people — the same way TV is, the same way radio is — is really important.”
However, by the end of a week of Congressional hearing smackdowns of Mark Zuckerberg, he might merely be open to trying new things.