Facebook might never require a fee from its users, but Facebook Groups admins could soon have the ability to charge subscription fees for exclusive access following a trial the company declared today.
Alex Deve, who's Facebook's Product Director of Groups stated that Facebook would be piloting a subscription model with a limited number of groups to enable group administrators "earn money to deepen engagement with their members".
The subscription service will provide Group admins the ability to offer paid, members-only content and has been trialed with a small number of extant groups. For example Meal Planning Central Premium, a meal prep community, and Declutter My Home, which assists members with tips on keeping their homes neat.
A source at Facebook told journalists that the trial was very much in the initial stages and that further tests and considerations would be made before it was rolled out to a greater audience — if it is at all.
At the moment, Facebook is scrutinizing and focusing on Groups, after reports the online communities can radicalize people and organize harassment campaigns.
Ads do not show in Facebook Groups, so the subscription idea could represent a new income stream for Facebook and Group admins, though, Facebook is not getting a share of the funds raised from the current trial.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has earlier stated that a subscription-based model would not be in line with the company's mission to be accessible to people around the world, citing costs, but a pay-for-access Groups initiative could represent a workaround.