Recently, the Facebook fee hoax started circulating on, yes, Facebook, and you didn't have to be an investigative journalist to debunk the thing. You just had to look at the company's revenue numbers. Facebook's 1.3 billion users are so valuable as advertising targets, the company would never run the risk of cutting any of them off with a paywall.
But, as it turns out, Facebook is willing to risk alienating its users in other ways. It also sees tremendous value in using its social network to experiment on those 1.3 billion souls—so much value that it's still worth losing a few here and there.
If anything in recent memory comes close to validating off-repeated conspiracy theories about the motives of Facebook, it was the company's now infamous "emotional contagion" study published over the summer. In the study, Facebook researchers tweaked the News Feeds of nearly 700,000 users—without their knowledge—to see if more positive or negative updates from friends induced the same emotions in the users themselves.