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During his congressional testimony, one thing that Mark Zuckerberg said really caught my ear.
When asked by members of congress if Facebook would offer version with no ads, he said something to the extent of:
A version of Facebook will always be free.
This got me thinking about 1) the fact that the Facebook has over 2,000,000,000 users and 2) that many users get their news there, and 3) that online trust is going to be a huge problem that will need solving.
As NPR recently reported, once anyone can impersonate anyone with nearly perfect fake video and audio on the Internet, Facebook’s ad privacy issue will seem quaint by comparison.
Social Engineering is a Bigger Problem
The ad related issues that Facebook recently had to deal with will blow over soon enough. People will go back to mainlining the next most shocking piece of news.
But a bigger issue called “social engineering” is coming and will need solving.
Social engineering is a fancy term for tricking people into doing things they would not otherwise do.
Social engineering examples include:
- You clicking on an email you think came from your bank, but came from a cyber criminal.
- You believing a fake propaganda story that isn’t true.
- You believing a person in a fake propaganda said something that they didn’t.
- You sharing false propaganda information with others because it made you sad, angry, happy, etc. and hoping others will share it too…
Eventually, if politically and/or criminally motivated social engineering becomes bad and pervasive enough, people everywhere will (willingly or unwillingly) have difficulty knowing who or what to believe…
It will be just like 1984.
Indeed, people may even question whether the truth can exist at all.
But obviously truth does exist. Water is wet. Fire will burn you. If you throw a rock into the air, it will fall to the ground, etc.
Facebook Premium for $11.00?
Would you pay for Facebook?
An article on Techcrunch contemplates the psychological impact of paying for a Facebook subscription for $11.00.
While a premium Facebook and the $11.00 per month cost are both still a hypothetical scenarios, I believe that if and when Facebook does release a premium version, two things will probably happen (or be happening):
- Facebook Premium Will Make a Pile of Dough. A ton of people will sign up I suspect. There will still be a free version that most people will use… And the ads on that version of Facebook will get a lot worse. They will become more intrusive, more pervasive, etc… Facebook will charge more to advertisers to reach its audience. But most users will put up with it. And for its premium users, Facebook will add enough value through premium services to make it worthwhile… Like an Apple Music subscription or Spotify, or Netflix, etc. people will just come to expect that they pay for their Facebook. Indeed, Facebook will actually realize Mark Zuckerberg’s goal of becoming a communication utility at that point.
- Facebook Premium Will Become a Necessity: Facebook could be useful as a means of actual trusted news, if it was able to verify that its users are real. It could also offer this verification, through blockchain or other “immutable” technology, as a service in a lot of other ways to ensure that people are who they say they are. Facebook’s investment in Oculus Rift could also become more pivotal. In virtual reality, users want to know that they are actually communicating with the right person IRL. Unless they want to be communicating with an AI, users will demand to be able to verify others through the Facebook platform. As such, a premium version of Facebook, where AI and VR is concerned, is essentially certain.
So, IMHO, a premium version of Facebook is coming. And it will be necessary, if Facebook gets identification right, to make sure you know who you are actually talking with online.
People will complain about it. Just like they did when Windows moved to a subscription software (SAAS) model or anything you have to pay for that you used to get for free…
The question is how much will it cost users…
And how much will it make Facebook stock soar?