Meta breaks its ‘always free’ promise to monetize its social apps

Meta breaks its ‘always free’ promise to monetize its social apps
Image Credits: Scommerce

According to The Verge, an internal memo was sent to employees last week outlining Meta’s plans to launch a new division that will introduce “possible paid features” to Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

The new division is reportedly set up to offset the ad losses Meta has suffered after Apple’s ad tracking changes on iOS, which led to a pullback on digital ad spending. Operating under the name of “New Monetization Experiences”, the new team will be led by Pratiti Raychoudhury, Meta’s former head of research.

In a statement to The Verge, John Hegeman, Meta’s VP of monetization overseeing the group, explained: “I think we do see opportunities to build new types of products, features, and experiences that people would be willing to pay for and be excited to pay for,” adding: “On a five-year time horizon, I do think it can really move the needle and make a pretty significant difference.”

This echoes what CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last June about the company not taking a cut of transactions from paid features and subscriptions until 2024.

Some of Meta’s companies have already started charging customers. WhatsApp charges businesses for the ability to message customers, and Instagram recently announced that creators could begin charging subscriptions for access to exclusive content.

Other social apps are riding the monetization wave, TikTok started testing paid subscriptionsfor creators earlier this year, Twitter introduced ‘Super Follows’, Snapchat added paid tiers, and Discord has its Nitro subscription. 

“We’re obviously paying attention to what’s going on in the industry,” said Hegeman. “And I think there are multiple companies that have done interesting things in this space that I think hopefully we can learn from and emulate over time.”

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