Facebook today announced a pilot program that would allow group administrators to charge members for exclusive content. In a blog post, the company revealed the test would include a small number of groups in the parenting and homemaking niches — including college planning, meal prep, and home cleaning.
According to Sara Mueller, who started a cleaning group called Declutter My Home:
Since I started Declutter My Home, it’s been motivating and fulfilling to help others get on the path of clearing their homes of unnecessary clutter, and creating a safe and supportive space for people to come together around this common goal. With the new Organize My Home subscription group, I will be able to provide this new community with more interactive ways to having an organized home like mini-projects, group challenges, trainings, and live Q&A, while still keeping the original group as a robust community for getting free advice and motivation.
Facebook notes that free groups aren’t going anywhere. Instead, administrators will have the option to create premium sub-groups within them. A source familiar with the program tells TNW that group administrators will be able to charge up to $29.99 (monthly) during the pilot. For now, Facebook won’t be collecting a cut of the subscription fees.
For administrators running groups that require a lot of time and energy, the ability to monetize their efforts would seem to make a lot of sense. In reality, the pilot’s success is almost a foregone conclusion. For Facebook to continue its efforts to monopolize online content creation, it’ll need to incentivize publishers, creators, and others to produce the content people currently visit the platform to see.