Facebook paywall could trade fake news for subscription fees

Eric Abent - Jul 19, 2017, 12:52 pm CDT
Facebook paywall could trade fake news for subscription fees

For years now, it’s been the same old story: Facebook has a massive user base but hasn’t quite figured out how to make money from it yet. Facebook has tried a variety of different money making methods, but later on this year, we’ll see it try something new. According to new reports, Facebook is planning to implement a subscription service that essentially allows publishers to put a paywall in front of their articles on the platform.

Our first indication that this new “feature” (if you can call it that) is on the way comes from Facebook itself. Campbell Brown, who was hired earlier in the year to head up Facebook’s partnership team, discussed this subscription service at yesterday’s Digital Publishing Information Summit in New York, according to The Street. Brown says that publishing partners have been clear that they want Facebook to implement some kind of paywall, and those discussions paved the way for subscriptions.

Brown, naturally, didn’t get into many specifics about Facebook subscriptions, but she did say that it will offer both premium and metered plans. Therefore, we can probably expect a service where you can pay monthly for unlimited access to one or more publications offered alongside a service that grants you a certain number of articles each month. It seems like the finer points are still being hammered out, so we may not get any specifics for a while.

Business Insider, on the other hand, spoke to an unnamed person close to the project who claims that Facebook will begin testing this new service in October. This source also had additional information on how subscriptions will work – it sounds like Facebook wants to put most of the controls in the hands of publishers, which will be able to offer a certain number of free articles per month and otherwise determine the terms of the subscriptions they offer.

Facebook, of course, will likely be skimming some money off the top, making some easy cash while it appeases publishing partners. This is just the next step in Facebook’s monetization plan, as it recently launched mid-roll ads for videos posted to the platform. The only question now is whether or not people will sign up for subscriptions through this service. Would you? Head down to the comments section and let us know.

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