As anyone who has ever been in one can testify, Facebook Groups are basically the most unhinged spaces on Earth. They all follow the same trajectory: they start off as a useful collection of people in pursuit of a single goal – be it cooking advice, or parenting support, or sharing hot memes – then eventually (and inevitably) descend into a pit of unbelievable drama which ends with the police being called on someone. Soon, you’ll be able to pay for that privilege.
The company has announced via a blog post that they’re piloting the ability for Group administrators to charge a subscription fee for access. They’re selling it as a way for admins – who often spend a lot of time on keeping their groups functioning – to recoup some of the costs for that labour:
We hear from group admins that they’re looking for ways to help them earn money to deepen engagement with their members and continue to support their communities. Many admins do this today by creating an additional subscribers-only group that sits alongside their existing group, and rely on additional tools to track and collect payments. 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.
At the moment, it seems like they work as a subscription-only subgroup within the larger (and still free) Facebook Group. The example Facebook provides is the lovely-sounding housecleaning group Declutter My Home, which has started a subscription-only subgroup called Organise My Home at a cost of US$14.99 a month. That’s actually pretty steep for a subscription, especially when it’s in such an untested space.
Whether or not it’s a vision of where Groups are going is totally unclear at the moment. It’s only on mobile right now, and Facebook says it won’t be taking a cut of that subscription cost for the moment.
But there you go. If you absolutely froth on the pointless and vicious drama of your favourite Facebook Groups… why not chuck a coin to the admins, who work so tirelessly to make sure members don’t literally kill one another?
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