Is Facebook about to start charging its users to access the social network? No, but a new chain letter making its way across Facebook walls wants you to think so.
This rumor follows Facebook's recent f8 conference in San Francisco, where the company announced sweeping changes to its Open Graph platform, allowing more sharing than ever before. During the event, Facebook also unveiled a radical new profile layout that will significantly change the look of users' personal pages.
The chain letter claiming Facebook will begin charging this year alleges that the site must charge its users a fee to pay for the new profile design.
The phony warning reads thus:
IT IS OFFICIAL. IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS. FACEBOOK WILL START CHARGING DUE TO THE NEW PROFILE CHANGES. IF YOU COPY THIS ON YOUR WALL YOUR ICON WILL TURN BLUE AND FACEBOOK WILL BE FREE FOR YOU. PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON, IF NOT YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DELETED IF YOU DO NOT PAY
Take a look at the chain letter, in the form of a Facebook post (below), courtesy of Sophos's Naked Security blog.
Sophos's Graham Cluley calls the rumor "poppycock." Writes Cluley, "Facebook doesn't need to charge you to use Facebook, it's making plenty of money already by allowing advertisers to reach its 800 million users."
We've heard similar rumors in the past, all equally untrue. A nearly identical rumor, falsely claiming Facebook would begin charging and deleting free accounts, spread virally on the heels of Facebook's announcement of a Skype-powered video chat feature.
Whenever doubts arise in users' minds about whether Facebook will remain free, they have only to check out Facebook's login page, where the company asserts the following: "It's free and always will be."
Fortunately, the most harm you can do by posting this current rumor is to further misinform your fellow Facebookers. However, scams periodically surface on the social network, and unsuspecting users who fall for them can end up spamming all their friends, or worse. Take a look at the 9 Facebook scams to watch out for (below), a slideshow which originally appeared here.