An extension of the Promoted Posts feature on Facebook means that ordinary users can or soon will be able to pay to promote their posts to a wider audience in the same way that businesses and Page owners can already do. However, this payment is entirely optional. The change does not mean that Facebook users will be required to pay to use the service. Facebook remains free. People can continue to use Facebook as per usual, but can choose to pay to promote certain posts if they wish to do so.
A new Facebook "feature" that allows users to pay to promote their posts is giving unwarranted new life to several old hoaxes that have falsely claimed that Facebook is about to start charging users for access. Variations of these Facebook charging rumours have circulated for years, often causing great angst within the Facebook community, with many vowing to leave and never return if the company attempted to levee fees on its users.
Thus, it is not surprising that Facebook's decision to roll out its promoted posts feature to ordinary users has reawakened these old hoaxes. The Promoted Posts program, which allows businesses and Facebook Page owners to pay to get their messages seen by more users, has already been available for some time.
And, now, this program has been extended to personal users as well. Which means that, if you are willing to part with a few dollars, you can ensure that your post gets seen by a lot more people. Its a little hard to envisage exactly why users would want to promote their personal posts in such a way, but I guess if you have a particular axe to grind or want to create a buzz about an upcoming event, it might be a worthwhile option.
Facebook has been widely criticized for its decision by industry experts, with Matt Silverman of Masahable called the announcement "a new low in the network’s accelerating user experience implosion". Silverman discusses the possible ramifications of the new "feature" in a Masahable article here.
But, the bottom line is that you do not need to pay for posts unless you want to. The promoted posts program is completely optional and in reality, will probably never be used by the vast majority of Facebook users. And those multitudes who choose not to pay to promote posts will be able to continue using Facebook for free just as they always have.
Last updated: October 6, 2012
First published: October 6, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer