Facebook has looked into the possibility of charging users a subscription fee to access the social network, it has revealed.

The California-based company currently uses advertising to monetise the social network, which has 2.2 billion monthly active users around the world.

However, the amount of data Facebook gathers on its users to target its on-screen adverts has been subject to a huge amount of scrutiny in recent months.

The company has found itself at the centre of a scandal after it was discovered that data from some 87 million users’ personal data was scraped and used by UK-based political data firm Cambridge Analytica.

Of those, Facebook has admitted that up to 2.7 million people in the European Union may have been victims.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologised for his company’s role in the data scandal.

The 33-year-old multi-billionaire testified in-front of a United States Senate commission , where he hinted at the company exploring paid subscriptions down the line.

This would reduce the US company’s reliance on users’ personal information to monetise the social network.

However, Zuckerberg specifically said there would always offer a free version of Facebook, whilst not closing the door on the possibility of paid versions as well.

In the latest earnings call, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg got more concrete on the issue.

Sandberg told investors the company has “certainly thought about lots of other forms of monetisation including subscriptions, and we’ll always continue to consider everything.”

It’s interesting the Chief Operating Officer for Facebook would bring-up subscriptions so soon after co-founder Mark Zuckerberg hinted at the possibility of a paid version of the social network.

While Zuckerberg has made it clear this would not replace the ad-supported, free version of Facebook, it is nonetheless an interesting proposition.

If the social network sees users leave the platform over concerns about how much of their data is tracked, a paid Facebook experience with more privacy protections could be a good play.

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