Change to Facebook's homepage sparks fears it may start charging

The slogan quietly changed on the social media giant's home page.
The slogan quietly changed on the social media giant's home page. Photo credit: Facebook

A change to Facebook's homepage has sparked fears that users may soon have to pay to use the world's most popular social media site.

Facebook's homepage quietly changed its slogan from "It's free and always will be'' earlier this month, without any explanation or warning to users, Business Insider reports.

Now the slogan simply reads "It's quick and easy", and some believe it's Facebook's discreet way of telling users they'll soon have to pay to use the service.

The Evening Times reports that Facebook has said it's "free" on its homepage since 2008.

"In the world of social media marketing 'always free' is not forever," one Twitter user said about the change.

But a digital law expert believes it's Facebook's way of telling us that users actually pay for the site with their data, and therefore isn't actually free anyway.

Data is sent to Facebook so it can be used to help businesses find the right audiences for ads, but last year the social media giant was rocked by multiple breaches, and multiple government investigations into its practices.

Lawyer and digital law expert José Antonio Castillo told Business Insider: "Facebook is not free nor has it ever been. Facebook's currency was and still is its users' personal data.

"It's never been free, though, because data is worth a lot of money."

The latest action comes as the company faces severe criticism from lawmakers and regulators over its privacy practices. Last month, Facebook agreed to a record-setting US$5 billion privacy settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission.

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