Although Meta did announce in February 2023 that Facebook and Instagram users would be offered the option to pay for verification badges on their profiles, as of this writing the company has announced no plans to charge for use of the platform itself.
In February 2023, a claim began to spread on social media platforms that Facebook would begin charging $4.99 per month to use the platform.
The first post we found about the claim was shared on Twitter on Feb. 8, 2023. In two tweets, the user said:
So now there doing it, we just seen on Channel 13 News that Facebook is charging all user's starting Monday. You can do a opt-out by this. Hold your fingers over and copy, it can't be a share they will know: I do not give permission to Facebook to charge 4.99$ a month to my account, also; all my picture's are property of myself and not Facebook.
So now there doing it, we just seen on Channel 13 News that Facebook is charging all user's starting Monday. You can do a opt-out by this. Hold your fingers over and copy, it can't be a share they will know:
I do not give permission to Facebook to charge 4.99$ a month to my acco
— Dylan Goodin (@dgoodin24) February 8, 2023
In May 2023, the claim began to spread on Facebook as copypasta (when users share a post by repeatedly copying and pasting the post). The posts said Facebook would begin charging users $4.99 per month "on Monday." The posts also said the charges could be prevented if users copied and pasted a notice to their accounts stating that they did not give the Facebook permission to charge them, and that "all my pictures are my property and not Facebook."
There is no evidence that Meta will begin charging users $4.99 per month to use the platform, much less by "Monday."
We previously reported in October 2022 that Meta has never announced plans to charge Facebook users money in order for them to be able to use the platform. According to the 2022 fact check, we first debunked this rumor in 2009.
At the time of publication, it was true that Meta had begun charging users for verified accounts on Facebook and Instagram in several countries, including the U.S. However, a company spokesperson told us in February 2023 that both social media platforms would remain free to non-verified users, and that the company wouldn't remove features that were currently available for free.
Other claims made in the posts were familiar to us, as we previously fact-checked false copypasta posts about a so-called "new Facebook/Meta rule" that supposedly allowed the company to use photos posted on the platform without users' permission in November 2021. We first found that claim false as early as June 2012.
A "Channel 13 news station" was also referenced in the copypasta posts as the source for the claims. "Channel 13 News" was also mentioned in the copypasta posts we fact-checked in June 2012. However, there were no links to reputable news stories concerning those claims from a "Channel 13 news station" in the posts, then or now.
When fact-checking claims about a Facebook privacy hoax in July 2016, CBS News Sacramento wrote that citing a legitimate-sounding news source gave the claims an illusion of an official source:
All across the country in many different markets there's a "channel 13" and chances are it has news on it. With no call letters or network attached to it, that should also raise concerns this might be a load of bunk.