Is Facebook Charging Users or Is It Just Another Viral Hoax?

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The latest rumor circulating online asserts that Facebook will begin charging users for membership. The rumor is gaining traction due to a chain message hoax spreading virally, although the company promises It's free and always will be.

The message comes shortly after Facebook rolled out an overhaul of new changes including Timeline profiles along with a revamped homepage.

A few versions of the chain message stating that Facebook will begin charging for the profile changes have been spreading through status updates, since the new changes emerged early last week.

THIS 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!! one message read.

Another message outlined the false membership subscription prices and the ability to opt out of the charge by re-posting the message.

FACEBOOK JUST RELEASED THEIR PRICE GRID FOR MEMBERSHIP. $9.99 PER MONTH FOR GOLD MEMBER SERVICES, $6.99 PER MONTH FOR SILVER MEMBER SERVICES, $3.99 PER MONTH FOR BRONZE MEMBER SERVICES, FREE IF YOU COPY AND PASTE THIS MESSAGE BEFORE MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. WHEN YOU SIGN ON TOMORROW MORNING YOU WILL BE PROMPTED FOR PAYMENT INFO...IT IS OFFICIAL IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS. FACEBOOK WILL START CHARGING DUE TO THE NEW PROFILE CHANGES

While there's no telling where the chain message began, it is not the first time Facebook has been the target of hoaxes surrounding charging users to maintain their membership on the social network. Many bogus chain messages and groups, like one group created in 2010 called 300,000 MEMBERS NEEDED TO STOP FACEBOOK FROM CHARGING £/$14.99 A MONTH, have put forth the assertion that Facebook will no longer remain a free service.

The ongoing rumor continues to resurface every so often, regardless of the fact that Facebook has a message on its homepage reading, It's free and always will be, when prompting its 800 million users to log in.

The chain message stating Facebook will charge a fee is proven to be just a hoax, as Facebook's advertising revenue is expected to reach $4.27 billion in 2011, according to ZDNet.

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