The Great Facebook Divide

No company got more media attention this week than Facebook. The ever so popular “Facebook is going to start charging” rumor reared its ugly head this week once again. This week, millions of users posted a chain letter claiming that Facebook would soon be charging its users for their accounts. Pandemonium ensued as people all over the place bought into the idea that their favorite social media tool would now be charging after so many years offering this free service to its users.

What’s ironic is that the rumor surfaced the same week as Facebook announced numerous changes to the site. After its San Francisco conference Facebook announced changes such as new layouts for users’ profile pages and a new timeline. So when users took to the site to post a “warning” to their friends about the upcoming changes, most people believed that the rumor was indeed true. The flowing screenshot from Sophos's Naked Security blog shows the chain letter that many users posted on their status updates:

Although most of these people did NOT in fact view this on the news, they were certain that the rumor must have been true, due to all of the recent changes. They did not, in fact think about the fact that Facebook has made millions of dollars already even though they have never charged a dime for its service. Facebook’s main landing page specifically states that the service is free to sign up. Had some people taken a minute to pay attention to the wording as they logged in, they would have seen that the service is still free. Users who believed the rumor also put themselves at risk for Spammers preying on their weaknesses. Like clockwork, Spammers started circling links that would promise users access to a free account, and instead gave them infectious computer viruses.

What Facebook has done, however, is find more creative ways to allow its users a more personalized platform. With the new changes, Facebook users who use the site to market their businesses or organizations now have more options available to help make their pages stand out amongst the rest. Much like the new Google Business Pages, Facebook is aiming to appeal to more business users than ever with a free marketing tool. Pictures of new layouts on the Mashable website show the broad range of options available to business users looking to improve their personal pages. Users now have more creative control of their content, and consumers now have a more detailed understanding of what their company offers. While the future of the new Facebook changes versus the new changes at Google are yet to be determined, it is a sure bet that Mark Zuckerberg is probably already plotting his next move.

What do you think about the new Facebook changes? How do you think Facebook will change the way we do business?