Facebook itself might never charge a fee to its users, but admins of private Facebook Groups could soon be able to charge a subscription fee for exclusive access following a trial the social giant announced today.
Product director of Groups Alex Deve announced in a blog post today that Facebook would be piloting a subscription model with a small number of groups to help group administrators "earn money to deepen engagement with their members".
The subscription service will allow Group admins to offer paid, members-only content and has been rolled out to a small number of existing groups. These include Meal Planning Central Premium, a meal prep community, and Declutter My Home, which helps members with tips on how to keep their homes tidy.
A source at Facebook told BuzzFeed News the trial was very much in the early stages and that further tests and considerations would have to be made before it was rolled out to a larger audience — if it is at all.
Advertisements do not show in Facebook Groups, so the subscription model could represent a new revenue stream for Facebook and Group admins, however Facebook is not getting a cut of the funds raised from the current trial.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously said a subscription-based model would not align with the company's mission to be available to people around the world, citing costs, but a pay-for-access Groups initiative could represent a workaround.