Sina science and technology news Beijing time on September 1 morning news, according to reports, Facebook parent Meta last week to the staff of an internal email shows that Meta is setting up a product team, for Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp and other applications to explore and develop "possible paid functions".
This is Meta's first serious attempt to develop paid features in a major social media app, all of which have billions of users. Meta's AD business has been hit hard by recent changes to the AD tracking capabilities of Apple's iOS platform to protect user privacy and a decline in advertiser spending in the digital AD market.
The team, called New Commercial Experience, will be led by Pratiti Raychoudhury, Meta's previous head of research. In an interview, John Hegeman, Meta's vice president of commercialization and the team's boss, said Meta remained committed to advertising and had no plans to allow users to pay to turn off ads in apps.
"We do see opportunities to develop new types of products, features and experiences that people will pay for," he said. He declined to specify what premium features Meta had in mind.
Meta currently makes almost all of its money from advertising, but Meta's social media apps already offer a small number of paid features. Charging users hasn't been a priority for the social media giant until now. Hegeman doesn't think paid features are likely to become a significant part of the business anytime soon, but he adds, "On the other hand, if there's an opportunity to create new value and generate a meaningful revenue stream and diversify that revenue stream, that's clearly an attractive thing."
He added that Meta believes that paid features will become a more meaningful part of the business in the long run. "In five years' time, I do think payment will change the landscape and make a significant difference."
Currently on Facebook, group administrators can charge for some original content, and users can buy virtual "stars" to reward creators. WhatsApp already offers businesses the ability to pay to send messages to customers. Instagram recently announced that creators can charge a subscription fee for original content. In June, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Meta would not take a cut of paid features and subscription deals until 2024.
Over the past few months, social media apps have been exploring how to charge users. TikTok began testing paid subscriptions earlier this year, Twitter already offers the paid Super Follows feature, and Discord makes almost all of its revenue from the Nitro paid subscription service. In addition, Telegram and Snapchat both added new premium plans this year to unlock additional features. Snapchat's premium plan has performed well in its early days.
"Obviously, we're looking at what's going on in the industry," Hegeman said. Many companies in this space are doing interesting things. I hope, over time, we can learn and emulate."