If there were no ads, would you pay $10 a month for Facebook? How about Twitter or Instagram? Two rich tech dudes think you might.
On Day 3 of the new decade (it sounds so much more sci-fi when you put it that way, doesn’t it?), BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti detailed the media company’s 2020 plans, which include “pioneering the future of paid social.”
People are fed up with the current data-driven social media model, from bots and trolls to targeted ads, Peretti argued. “There is a huge demand for better ways to connect with friends and meet new peers,” he added. “This is why people are increasingly willing to pay for better social experiences.”
This comes on the heels of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launching what Business Insider called an “anti-Facebook”—WT:Social, which moves away from monetized targeted ads in favor of user donations. Clearly, Peretti and Wales are onto something, considering that WT:Social gained 200,000 users just days after launching.
So, what’s the issue here?
While marketers and business owners like us love having inexpensive access to massive audiences, you’ve probably also noticed the problems with ad-driven social media.
Let’s take Facebook’s business model, for example, which is heavily dependent on selling advertisers access to their audience. This means the company is extremely motivated to track user behavior and increase metrics like time spent on the site and frequency of visits.
This quote from data scientist and early employee at Facebook sums it up nicely,
“The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.”
With ad-driven sites like Facebook facing increasing pressure to address privacy concerns, harassment, hate speech, and fake news is a window opening for a subscription-based social media platform?
You tell us. Are Peretti and Wales right? Would you pay to use social media?