Meta’s plans to charge for Facebook and Instagram could be the final nail in their coffins
In time you may be seeing some premium features that you’ll have to pay for when you’re scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed, alongside WhatsApp, which could be the death knell for many users, including me.
According to a leaked memo by The Verge (opens in new tab), Meta has set up a new group called ‘New Monetization Experiences’ to think up new ways of adding revenue, due to the hit it took after Apple brought in new privacy policies that limited Meta’s advertising strategies.
We’ve already seen other apps such as Snapchat and Telegram launch monetization options to offer exclusive features behind a paywall, but seeing a ‘Facebook Plus’ or ‘Instagram Plus’ may be a step too far for some.
With Instagram’s currently experiencing a low point due to some unwelcome features, offering a paid option could be the last straw for many, and cause them to move to other social platforms.
I remember in the early days of Facebook, circa 2008 when there would be viral posts constantly promising that your account would be behind a paywall as soon as you would log in.
In these early days, using a social platform such as Facebook was new and fresh, and a break from the days of MySpace and Bebo, so these fears would be all over my news feed, but eventually these would be debunked.
Nowadays though, I would expect to see this as a reason for users to leave, rather than keeping fingers crossed that it wouldn’t happen. There’s a growing opinion that Facebook, and recently Instagram, has become irrelevant, and out of touch with what users want.
From NFTs to a full-screen view on Instagram, alongside posts on Facebook that rarely give relevance to what you want to read, Meta gives the impression that it’s not sure what to focus on. Seeing new features that users will not want to pay for may only exacerbate this, and cause them to move to other platforms, such as Glass and Twitter.
For me, I enjoy using Instagram, but its recent focus on video, especially when I get to ‘Suggested Posts’ when I scroll through my feed has become irritating, especially as they’re always irrelevant to my interests.
However, Facebook is something I now use for browsing Groups with Simpsons memes (opens in new tab) and keeping in touch with some family and friends who don’t use WhatsApp.
It makes sense for WhatsApp to offer some features, as it’s against the behemoths of Apple’s iMessage and WeChat, but for the casual users who only use Facebook, seeing features for a price could be the final straw for many, and further proof that Meta is panicking as to how it could benefit its users for the long term.