Earlier today, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in a joint hearing of US Senate’s Commerce and Judiciary committee over the Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica controversy that scrapped off data of 87 million users through a quiz app. Apparently, Mark’s testimony suggests that Facebook might consider in releasing a paid version.
In the first two hearings, Mark faced questions about Cambridge analytcia data scandal, Russia & U.S. election meddling, Users privacy, Facebook’s policy & business network and advertisement module.
Senator Dean Heller asked Mark, “Have you ever drawn the line on selling data to an advertiser?” However, Mark Zuckerberg clarified that Facebook doesn’t and never will sell data of users to advertisers.
He stated that Facebook helps advertiser when they want to reach to a certain type of people. Or in another way, Facebook just helps advertisers to target people from a specific region for showing ads. However, they don’t get access to individuals data in any manner.
When the senators asked mark about how they make money, Mark stated – “Senator, we run ads.”
Mark replied to the senators,“…The way the ad system work is advertisers can come to us and say, I — I have a message that I’m trying to reach a certain type of people. They might be interested in something, they might live in a place, and then we help them get that message in front of people. But this is one of the — it’s — it’s widely mischaracterized about our system that we sell data. And it’s actually one of the most important parts of how Facebook works is that we do not sell data. Advertisers do not get access to people’s individual data.”
Then the senators asked Mark if they could bring a paid version facebook where users have to pay for not sharing their data with advertisers. He said that each Facebook user has control over data and they can see which apps or advertiser has their data or information and what kind of information they’re sharing. As facebook’s main profit comes from ads revenue, so an ad-free version looks like a mare joke.
“To be clear, we don’t offer an option today for people to pay to not show ads. We think offering people an ad-supported service is the most aligned with our mission of trying to connect everyone in the world, because we want to offer a free service that everyone can afford. That’s the only way we can reach billions of people” – he said.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO also said allowing the users to prevent sharing their information with advertisers requires a paid model. In the hearing, Mark added,“Yes, there will always be a version of Facebook that is free.” And it could mean that Facebook might consider a paid version for its users.