Paying to be part of a Facebook Group?! What a ghastly thought!
Just when you thought the commercial giant could not sell out enough, Facebook announced that it is letting some group admins charge their members for exclusive content. This means being part of a Facebook group may well cost you between USD4.99 to USD29.99 per month.
According to Facebook in an official announcement:
“Subscription groups were created to make it easier for admins to provide these experiences with built-in tools, and to save them time so they can focus on offering members-only content.
For members, they’re now able to sign-up and manage their subscription through the Facebook app for iOS and Android.”
While Facebook is not taking a cut from administrators who choose to charge, it won’t be a surprise if they did in the future.
So how does this affect both users and Facebook group owners?
I’ve listed down some pros and cons which for both Facebook group owners and their members.
Exclusive content at a price
Many publishers and content providers are already charging for exclusive content on their websites and apps. So why not do that on Facebook groups, right?
Take Kayla Itsines for example. She’s an online physical trainer that teases you with some freemium content and the promise of a 10/10 body. The subscription to her app promises more comprehensive content, with a community of like-spirited individuals to boot.
I can imagine a world where we apply that same concept to Facebook groups, and it opens a new avenue for such content creators to reach out to a wider audience.
But before Facebook group owners start laughing their way to the bank, they should, like any product, successfully convince why people should pay to be in their closed group when there are others out there that are possibly free.
Spammers are less likely to spam your Facebook group or request to be added under false pretense to promote their own products for the simple reason that they have to pay.
Don’t you just hate it when you join a group just to find out that there are more spammy posts than genuine discussions?
While moderators can filter trashy content, it’s definitely more convenient with more invested group members.
Think of subscription-based Facebook groups like a country club membership. You get the good stuff and enjoy premium features without the rift rafters.
Being in a group of people who paid to be a part of a particular topic may actually drive people to display the same amount of interest in that topic.
Exclusive content can still be shared if users shared Facebook accounts
No matter how you set the privacy settings of what you think it’s a secret group, there will always people who share a singular account to accommodate many users.
Depending on the group features Facebook is rolling out, there’s always a loophole to such subscription-based online memberships.
Price sensitive users may get deterred
Depending on the types of groups and the nature of the topic of your Facebook group, some content may not be worth paying for. This may result in users opting to form their own communities on alternative platforms such as Reddit or free-for-use forums.
So before deciding to charge group members for subscribing, owners will have to truly assess what their objectives are and whether it’s worth losing their original members who do not wish to pay.
Let’s face it. This move has good potential. Love it or hate it, Facebook is doing very well and will continue to keep doing so as long as it serves its purpose in connecting people.
This time around, Facebook’s decision to allow subscription-based group membership gives content creators a different source of income on an avenue that we’re all too familiar with.
Both Facebook group owners and members can stand to benefit as long as the former does not abuse this new mechanic, but instead, offer something that their members cannot pass up on.
Have some thoughts about Facebook’s recent decision to allow paid subscriptions to Facebook groups? Let me know what you think!
Also published on Medium.