Would you pay to join a Group? Facebook takes subscriptions for a spin

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Facebook

Facebook Groups connect anyone, from people in the same ZIP code to people with the same medical condition — but would you pay for that connection? That’s the question Facebook is asking as the platform begins rolling out a pilot program for group subscriptions. The update, announced on Wednesday, June 20, brings tools that allow group administrators to create an additional paid group that receives exclusive content. For now, the feature is a test Facebook is rolling out to a handful of groups.

Alex Deve, the product director for Facebook groups, says that some group administrators already use outside tools to create a subscription group. The update would bring native tools to create subscription groups, including a way to track members and collect subscriptions.

For group members, the tool would allow access to the different subscription options and payment options within the Facebook app. The subscriptions aren’t designed to replace free groups, but serve as a way to offer expanded group content while giving the group administrator a reason to spend additional time on that content.

Subscriptions will run alongside an existing free group but will offer exclusive content only accessible to subscribers. One group in the pilot launch, Declutter My Home, for example, will have projects, checklists, tutorials, and live videos among the exclusive subscription materials. 

Along with the decluttering group, the pilot launch includes Grown and Flown Parents: College Admissions and Affordability, a college prop group for parents and Meal Planning Central Premium, a weekly meal planning group. As part of the first groups to access the feature, the pilot groups will be sharing feedback to integrate before a potential widespread launch of the feature.

“As we learn from this pilot and understand how group members feel about subscription groups, we’ll continue to improve this experience to help admins offer more to their members and continue to invest in their communities,” Deve wrote.

Facebook didn’t specify a price for the subscriptions — the amount could be a decision left up to the group administrator. A screenshot of the feature shows a $15 per month subscription group for Organize My Home. Ironically, that’s the close to the estimated price it would cost to run Facebook without ads, numbers run after the Cambridge Analytica scandal as a hypothetical scenario of an ad-free Facebook.

The group subscription isn’t the first paid content form Facebook is exploring. Facebook recently launched a video subscription option as well.

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