Among the various concerns around social platform data usage, and the amount of personal insights that they're gathering each and every day, which can have significant consequences in relation to influence and manipulation, a question that's been repeatedly raised is whether this could be avoided.
Could social platforms make money, instead, off, say, a monthly subscription fee, which would therefore eliminate the need for them to gather and share user data in order to sell ads?
That doesn't seem like a realistic possibility. Adding a subscription fee would significantly impact growth in developing markets, while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has specifically stated that "there will always be a version of Facebook that is free". But he did say 'version', which does suggest that Facebook has, at least, considered it.
And maybe it would work - according to this new study conducted by Twingate, Facebook users would be willing to pay up to $5.24 per month to use Facebook and/or Instagram, which, according to the data, is a lot more than Facebook would need to charge in order to equal its current revenue totals. That would then put the emphasis on adding users over gathering data, an arguably healthier focus - but could it really happen? Would a social platform ever really risk its growth by implementing a subscription charge?
It's an interesting consideration either way - check out the full results of Twingate's survey in the below infographic.