In his Senate hearing, Zuckerberg hints at a paid version of Facebook
Among the “Yes, Senators” and “No, Senators” in Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony, the Facebook CEO may have dropped a breadcrumb about a big change for his company: a paid version of Facebook.
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) grilled Mark Zuckerberg about how Facebook could both safeguard users’ data and sustain its ad-based business model as a free service for users. Hatch asked Zuckerberg whether Facebook would always be free, and Zuckerberg responded “Yes, there will always be a version of Facebook that is free.”
Did you catch that? A version of Facebook that is free. Meaning that there could be another version of Facbook that is paid.
But honestly, it’s more likely that Mark Zuckerberg is just trying to avoid definitive statements about his business while on the record — not necessarily providing a hint about future business plans.
Facebook has previously stuck pretty hard to its insistence on free service. Just days before the Senate testimony, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg stood by its “ad-based business model” when she made the media rounds:
“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,” Sandberg said on TODAY.
But by the end of Zuck’s week of Congressional hearing smackdowns, he might just be open to trying new things.