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Facebook's New "Promote" Option Raising Concerns

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- "It's free and it always will be."

That's the slogan you see when you log onto Facebook. But a new change is causing concerns about the way they do business.

An endless stream of status updates and photos; but now, there's a new option to break through Facebook's clutter.

"Notice there's new button: 'Like – Comment – Promote," said Patrick O'Malley, a social media consultant.

By selecting this new "promote" option, you're launching your post to the top of all your friends' news feeds so it stands out. But it's a privilege you'll pay for.

"You post something on Facebook, your friends may or may not see it because it may get lost in all the other posts that they have," O'Malley said. "So, if you want it to remain at the top you can pay Facebook a $7 fee and they will ensure that your post remains at the top."

Paying to use Facebook?

This troubles critics who say this violates the spirit of social media and will create a two-tier system.

"Those who can afford $7 each time that they post something to Facebook get better influence and better reach than those who can't," said David Gerzof Richard, a media consultant.

And it's not just Facebook. Other popular sites like Twitter and LinkedIn, have also started to introduce "pay to play" options. It's about the bottom line. They're all trying to make more money.

So, does this open the door to other fees?

"It certainly might," says O'Malley. "Facebook's got a lot of opportunities to make money and they lost a lot of money when the stock price dropped over the last few months."

There are now a billion Facebook users.

But at least one media consultant doesn't think people will abandon the site.

"It's really difficult for anyone to say, 'ya know what, that's it. I'm now off of Facebook,' because it's become the standard for staying connected with people," Richard said.

The question is whether or not paying will become the new standard for staying connected.

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