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Is Facebook backing away from its ‘always free’ promise? Platform quietly changed the homepage slogan this month, says report

Facebook may be backing away from its longtime slogan that promised to keep the platform free.

As noted by Business Insider, the social media giant recently changed its homepage slogan, which was formerly, ‘It’s free and always will be’ to a decidedly less committal, ‘It’s quick and easy.’ 

The change reportedly took place between August 6 and 7, though lacked a formal announcement from the company. 

Facebook has quietly changed its homepage slogan, though the company has yet to give an official reason. Where it now says ‘it’s quick and easy,’ the firm previously said: ‘It’s free and always will be’

A request for comment regarding the slogan switch has yet to be addressed before time of publication.

Though Facebook does not charge its users for joining the service, it has long taken advantage of the massive amounts of data collected from them. 

That data is then re-purposed and sold to companies to help direct marketing and products to certain audiences.

According to lawyer and digital law expert José Antonio Castillo who spoke to Business Insider, the change may have something to do with a directive from the European Union that recognizes that personal data as a form of payment.

While the company has yet to give any indication that it will begin directly charging users, the company explicitly notes that it does not guarantee that it will always keep the platform free.

Business Insider notes that the Facebook ‘Things You Should Know’ section contains a disclaimer clause that states, ‘We don’t guarantee that Platform will always be free.’  

CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have come under fire as of late for lapses in customer privacy. User data has long been the crux of the company’s business model.2018: Zuckerberg admits Facebook made ‘mistakes’ on user dataProgress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time1:28FullscreenNeed Text

To help bolster the companies revenue, it has turned to its counterpart, Instagram, where it plans to increase the platforms ad-load significantly. 

Facebook has reportedly become concerned over the rising popularity of Instagram which threatens to eclipse the platform.

For Facebook, that trade-off could spell out problems since Instagram still brings in less revenue.

Now, about one in every four posts on the platform in an advertisement according to a recent investigation by Marketing Land. 

HOW DOES FACEBOOK PLAN TO IMPROVE PRIVACY?

In a March 6 blog post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised to rebuild based on six ‘privacy-focused’ principles:

  • Private interactions
  • Encryption 
  • Reducing permanence
  • Safety 
  • Interoperability
  • Secure data storage

Zuckerberg promised end-to-end encryption for all of its messaging services, which will be combined in a way that allows users to communicate across WhatsApp, Instagram Direct, and Facebook Messenger. 

This he refers to as ‘interoperability.’ 

He also said moving forward, the firm won’t hold onto messages or stories for ‘longer than necessary’ or ‘longer than people want them.’

This could mean, for example, that users set messages to auto-delete after a month or even a few minutes. 

‘Interoperability’ will ensure messages remain encrypted even when jumping from one messaging service, such as WhatsApp, to another, like Instagram, Zuckerberg says. 

Facebook also hopes to improve users’ trust in how it stores their data.

Zuckerberg promised the site ‘won’t store sensitive data in countries with weak records on human rights like privacy and freedom of expression in order to protect data from being improperly accessed.’

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