“Facebook To Begin Charging Users $2.99/mo Starting November 1st” says the headline that has many Facebook users in a tizzy. So is it true that Facebook is going to start charging $2.99? No! That headline, and the article that appeared under it, were written and published on the National Report website, which is a satirical website similar to the Onion. So, put another way, imagine the Onion printing an article about Facebook to begin charging – how seriously would you take it?
The [Page no longer available – we have linked to the archive.org version instead] looked very official (as most good hoaxes do), including fake quotes from Mark Zuckerberg, and a press release style format.
Menlo Park, CA — At a press conference this morning, Facebook rolled out their new monthly service plan. Beginning November 1st of this year, the social media giant will start charging members $2.99/mo to use services that users currently enjoy for free.
“We thought long and hard about this decision, but at the end of the day, we had no choice but to add this monthly fee,” Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters. “If we don’t do something about our rising costs now, Facebook could face an unrecoverable financial burden and become obsolete.”
There was a time when the National Report included a disclaimer, and that disclaimer read:
DISCLAIMER: National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental . The views expressed by writers on this site are theirs alone and are not reflective of the fine journalistic and editorial integrity of National Report. Advice given is NOT to be construed as professional. If you are in need of professional help (and you may be if you are on this page), please consult a professional. National Report is intended for a mature audience and not for children under the age of 18.
However, that disclaimer no longer appears on their site, which of course probably has contributed to the current confusion over whether Facebook is actually going to start charging in November. The closest you get to a disclaimer now is if you read the [Page no longer available – we have linked to the archive.org version instead] (almost certainly intentionally hidden behind a tiny link to “Stuff and Junk”) that includes this language: “In order to be in compliance with the Federal Communications Act and The Barack H. Obama Administrational Oversight Panel On Media Matters, The National Report officially states its purpose as an online portal for general news and commentary from its staff, citizen journalists and other sources, and may include unconfirmed or satirical material.”
Even their staff directory seems to be populated with made-up names, presumably for made-up people.
Which is only appropriate for a site that is populated entirely by made-up stories.