If you wanted the online service X to be ads-free and not collect and resell your personal data, how much should you pay to make up for their lost revenue?

It's a question has been roaming in my head for a while, and today I've decided to try and collect some rough data to come up with a price tag.

's ads revenue in 2021 was almost $115B. The platform has about 1.9B daily active users, and 2.9B monthly active users.

($115e9 / 2.9e9) / 12 = $3.3 per month

Do we want to assume instead that most of the ads revenue comes from the daily active users, and the fraction from those who login every other week or so is negligible? No problem:

($115e9 / 1.9e9) / 12 = $5 per month

Would you be happy to pay up to $5 to use a social network that connects you to the whole world, but that doesn't hoard your personal data like a junkie, doesn't resell your personal data to controversial actors like Cambridge Analytica, and doesn't profit from targeted ads that push people towards extremism?

Many prefer to see a few ads and don't mind what is done with their data, as long as the service is free. Many, instead, would surely prefer to pay $5 a month, if that's the price to pay to buy Facebook's respect for your data.

The main problem is: why aren't we even given that choice?

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@blacklight Because the data gathering also serves intelligence purposes, which is also why Facebook was allowed to be shunted onto the stockmarket, backed by the banking giants as if it was an actual "Blue-Chip" stock of a company built on physical assets, you know, that crusty old stuff that actually serve human needs.

@neglesaks of course data hoarding creates much more power than money alone. But then I'd expect these companies to be honest with their customers.

When Apple comes up with privacy banners to block Facebook's trackers, or when the EU asks them to open up their APIs and allow 3rd-party apps, or when the community comes up with new ways to hijack their tracking mechanisms, Facebook complains that we're attacking their (primary and only) source of revenue.

They talk as if they had no alternatives to their surveillance-and-ads-based revenue model. But when you look at their numbers, you realize that their ads machine actually gives them $3-$5 of monthly revenue per user. So a model where users can either opt for a free tier or pay a modest monthly subscription and have their data respected would be totally viable.

So they should be clear and tell the world "it's not about your money - it's just about your data".

@blacklight "But then I'd expect these companies to be honest with their customers."

Companies are not humans and do not abide by the same moral standards that you and I do. Hence, this expectation of straightforward honesty is misplaced.

"Devil in the detail":
[1] 0.1658255

In other words if one person uses service every day, their daily data is worth 16 pence. This is why alternatives cannot compete on price alone. They must find alternative motivations.

@blacklight I do not want capitalist brainwashing shit called advertising. Capitalists force people to watch their advertising. It is crime against people's freedom.

@blacklight isn't that exactly what WhatsApp originally did? Charge $1 a year or something?

Many fediverse services are funded by donations from users - so clearly it's a model that can work

@M0YNG that's indeed how WhatsApp worked initially - it usually was €1.99 per month in Europe.

Coincidentally, Facebook announced its WhatsApp acquisition in 2014, and WhatsApp dropped the monthly fees less than two years later.

@blacklight Threema are doing a similar thing, with a one-off payment of 4.99 units of currency

@threemaapp ... I think on here

Imitation of the fediverse:


This is the home page of citc.

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