Facebook is conducting market research into whether people would sign up with the social network through a paid Facebook variant without ads, Bloomberg reports citing sources with knowledge of the research.
The investigation was conducted in recent weeks, the sources tell the news agency. However, there are said to be no concrete plans and it is unclear if they will ever get off the ground. In addition, Facebook would have previously commissioned this type of investigation, but the Cambridge Analytica scandal has prompted it to re-examine the option. Ads are responsible for the vast majority of Facebook’s revenue.
Earlier internal investigations into a paid option indicated that users would not take advantage of it, the sources said. That would make Facebook appear greedy when it charges for a service it said would always be free. Bloomberg mentions that recent events may have made Facebook more open to changes to its platform to regain user trust.
While discussing his most recent quarterly earnings, Facebook coo Sheryl Sandberg said the Camridge Analytica affair would have had no appreciable impact on advertisers. That way they wouldn’t turn their backs on Facebook in large numbers. During the discussion, the question was also raised whether Facebook is thinking about subscriptions, with a reference to examples such as Spotify, Apple and Netflix. Sandberg replied that that has indeed been considered, among other forms of monetization, and that Faceook will “always continue to think about all options.” Ads, however, would be a natural fit for Facebook, which claims to have 80 million Pages, of which 6 million are advertisers.