Zuckerberg opens door to paid version of Facebook

"There will always be a version of Facebook that is free"

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he will not step down as chairman

During his testimony in front of U.S. Congress, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg indicated the company was considering a paid version of the social media platform.

“There will always be a version of Facebook that is free,” Zuckerberg said, in response to a question from Senator Orrin Hatch about whether the platform would always remain free.

This comes after Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg suggested on NBC’s Today Show that allowing users to opt-out of data collection and use for targeted advertising would require a paid option.

“We don’t have an opt-out at the highest level. That would be a paid product,” said Sandberg.

The idea could be seen as straying from Zuckerberg’s previously stated interest in keeping the platform completely free to make it accessible to the widest amount of users possible.

Currently, there’s no strong indication that such an option is in the works, but it seems to be an option that Facebook is considering amid the controversy over its data collection practices.

Zuckerberg spoke in front of U.S. Congress today on the subject of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the latter data firm gained access to data on 87 million of Facebook’s users through a personality quiz app used by only around 300,000 people.