As Facebook continues to look for ways to wring every last dollar out of its platform, the company announced today that it is rolling out a pilot program that allows Facebook group administrators the ability to offer paid monthly subscriptions.
To start, subs will cost anywhere between $5 and $30 ( £3.80-£23); however, Facebook says this functionality will one be available to a “small number” of groups, including the Organize My Home group pictured above. Paying for a sub will give members access to things like exclusive content, direct help and advice from the creator, or special member badges and icons.
The idea behind instituting paid subs is that it should give group admins greater control when it comes to monetising their content. Currently, many content creators are forced to create two separate groups, one for free users and another for paying members, while using third-party services like Paypal to track subscriptions.
However, with the introduction of subscriptions, Facebook says group admins will be able to collect membership fees directly from Facebook, while members will be able to cancel their subs at any time by using the Facebook app on Android or iOS. (Though, strangely, Facebook did not mention anything about desktop.) Also, Facebook says that during the program’s pilot phase, Facebook won’t take a cut of the money, though that is almost certain to change when the program likely expands to more groups in the future.
Facebook’s subscription trial follows similar efforts by the company that gave users the option to support video creators with monthly payments, a move that is already common on platforms like Twitch and Patreon. For many, paid subs seems like a natural evolution for Facebook as it expands its monetisation options, although you still kind of have to wonder if any content on Facebook is worth paying for.