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Why Facebook’s betting $1 billion on creators

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Last month, Instagram held its first-ever Creator Week, a virtual event the company described as “a life-changing three days with new feature news and celeb drop-ins.” One of those drop-ins was CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who made a brief appearance to share a message with creators.

“I think that any good vision of the future has to involve a lot more people being able to make a living by expressing their creativity and by doing things they want to do, rather than things they have to — and having the tools and the economy around them to support their work is critical,” he said. “Our goal is to be the best platform for creators like you to make a living.”

This week, Zuckerberg went even farther, announcing that Facebook plans to invest $1 billion in creators by the end of 2022. The investment will fund bonus programs, creator funds and other monetization programs to boost all stripes of creators on its platform.

That Facebook is funneling so much money and resources toward creators is indicative of not just the opportunity the company sees, but how much ground it has to make up.

For years, Facebook simply didn’t do much for creators. While Instagram has long had its own influencer community, the company has at times tried to limit their reach. Instagram’s founders were reportedly uncomfortable with the rise of influencers, and introduced an algorithmic feed to ensure users would see more posts from friends and family than brands and businesses.

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While YouTube has offered monetization features for more than a decade, Instagram didn’t offer any kind of revenue sharing feature until last year. And many creators often felt at odds with Instagram. The company’s ever-changing algorithm fueled suspicions that it “shadowbans” or otherwise penalizes users who post too much or about the “wrong” topics.

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“Facebook has been late to the game in terms of supporting the creative community in a meaningful way,” says Qianna Smith Bruneteau, founder of the American Influencer Council, a trade group representing the creator industry.

But Facebook is now trying to reverse those perceptions. For the past year, the company has been steadily churning out new tools for creators to make money. Since last May alone, the company has introduced a dizzying number of money-making features.

On Instagram, creators can now make money from commercials in IGTV or open their own shops. They can sell badges and products in live streams. On Facebook, they can host paid virtual events, promote fan subscriptions, or sell in-app gifts in live streams or audio rooms. Soon, they’ll be able to start paid newsletters, earn affiliate commission from products their followers buy and participate in a branded content marketplace. The company is also launching several new bonus programs that will pay creators for signing up for IGTV ads, creating Reels or meeting live-streaming milestones.

Creators can earn bonuses for meeting certain goals.

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Zuckerberg and other top executives now regularly speak about creators and the opportunity they represent. The company is so eager to win over the creator community it’s promised it won’t take a cut of their earnings until 2023.

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Li Jin, founder of Atelier Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in the creator economy, says surging interest in creators is because the industry has gotten so big it’s no longer something platforms can afford to ignore.

“I think for a long time there was no need to separately think of creators as a distinct segment that was in need of specialized features or funds,” Jin says. “I think what changed is the realization that … these creators’ content is driving a disproportionate amount of activity and engagement on the platforms.”

That Facebook is late to the creator economy also means the company is facing an incredible amount of competition. TikTok, which has a reputation for a creator-friendly algorithm, just passed 3 billion downloads, the first non-Facebook owned app to do so, according to analytics company Sensor Tower. Users of TikTok, and its Chinese counterpart Duoyin, together spent more than a half billion dollars in the app during the second quarter of 2021, alone. In the United States in 2020, TikTok was significantly ahead of Facebook and Instagram in user engagement, according to App Annie.

TikTok is outpacing Facebook in time spent per user.

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Meanwhile Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and other platforms are also pouring money into new initiatives for creators. “There’s a limited number of creators and everyone is in competition for them,” Jin says.

Facebook has offered various explanations for its sudden interest in creators. Zuckerberg has said he wants to help more people “make a living” off Facebook’s services. Instagram chief Adam Mosseri recently said the company was responding to “the shift in power from institutions to individuals across industries.”

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It’s also a major opportunity to shift Facebook’s business away from ads. Though Facebook has promised it won’t take a cut of creators’ earnings for more than a year, that will eventually change (the company hasn’t said what its cut will be, only that it will be “less” than Apple’s 30-percent commission).

Creators could also provide a massive boost to the company’s push into shopping. Commerce has also been a major focus for the social network, which has already crammed shopping features into nearly every corner of Instagram, and Zuckerberg has said he intends to create “a full-featured commerce platform” across Facebook’s services.

What’s less clear is just how much creators will be willing to buy-in to Facebook’s vision. While a $1 billion investment will almost certainly fuel more interest in the platform, it’s not clear if it will prompt the kind of content Facebook might be hoping for. Instagram’s Reels, for example, was meant to be the company’s chief TikTok competitor. Yet the company has at times had to push creators to post original content there.

And concerns about Facebook’s algorithms remain, says Bruneteau. “The algorithm should be favorable to creators like it is on TikTok,” she says. “You have these instant influencers on TikTok, who have been able to grow million-plus followings in less than a year. However those same instant influencers who have those accounts have a tendency to have less followers on Instagram.”

There are signs that Facebook might be willing to address these concerns. Mosseri recently raised eyebrows when he said that Instagram is no longer a photo-sharing app, and that the company was working one ways to insert more recommended content in users’ feeds in order to compete with TikTok.

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But even with a kinder algorithm, both Bruneteau and Jin caution that creators should be cautious in throwing too many resources into Facebook or any one platform.

“When creators are building their processes on top of these like centralized platforms, they’re actually creating more value for the underlying platform than they’re able to create for themselves,” Jin says. “At the end of the day you’re strengthening Facebook’s dominance because the more content you put there, the more it attracts consumer users and the more that translates into Facebook revenue and Facebook’s network effects.”

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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Facebook Owner Meta Launches New Platform, Safety Hub to Protect Women in India

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Meta (formerly Facebook) on Thursday announced a slew of steps to protect woman users on its platform, including the launch of StopNCII.org in India that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

Meta has also launched the Women’s Safety Hub, which will be available in Hindi and 11 other Indian languages, that will enable more women users in India to access information about tools and resources that can help them make the most of their social media experience, while staying safe online.

This initiative by Meta will ensure women do not face a language barrier in accessing information Karuna Nain, director (global safety policy) at Meta Platforms, told reporters here.

“Safety is an integral part of Meta’s commitment to building and offering a safe online experience across the platforms and over the years the company has introduced several industry leading initiatives to protect users online.

“Furthering our effort to bolster the safety of users, we are bringing in a number of initiatives to ensure online safety of women on our platforms,” she added.

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StopNCII.org is a platform that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

“It gives victims control. People can come to this platform proactively, hash their intimate videos and images, share their hashes back with the platform and participating companies,” Nain said.

She explained that the platform doesn’t receive any photos and videos, and instead what they get is the hash or unique digital fingerprint/unique identifier that tells the company that this is a known piece of content that is violating. “We can proactively keep a lookout for that content on our platforms and once it”s uploaded, our review team check what”s really going on and take appropriate action if it violates our policies,” she added.

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In partnership with UK Revenge Porn Helpline, StopNCII.org builds on Meta’s NCII Pilot, an emergency programme that allows potential victims to proactively hash their intimate images so they can”t be proliferated on its platforms.

The first-of-its-kind platform, has partnered with global organisations to support the victims of NCII. In India, the platform has partnered with organisations such as Social Media Matters, Centre for Social Research, and Red Dot Foundation.

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Nain added that the company is hopeful that this becomes an industrywide initiative, so that victims can just come to this one central place to get help and support and not have to go to each and every tech platform, one by one to get help and support.

Also, Bishakha Datta (executive editor of Point of View) and Jyoti Vadehra from Centre for Social Research are the first Indian members in Meta”s Global Women”s Safety Expert Advisors. The group comprises 12 other non-profit leaders, activists, and academic experts from different parts of the world and consults Meta in the development of new policies, products and programmes to better support women on its apps.

“We are confident that with our ever-growing safety measures, women will be able to enjoy a social experience which will enable them to learn, engage and grow without any challenges.

“India is an important market for us and bringing Bishakha and Jyoti onboard to our Women”s Safety Expert Advisory Group will go a long way in further enhancing our efforts to make our platforms safer for women in India,” Nain said.

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Facebook Adds New Trend Insights in Creator Studio, Which Could Help Shape Your Posting Strategy

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Facebook’s looking to provide more content insight within Creator Studio with the rollout of a new ‘Inspiration Hub’ element, which highlights trending content and hashtags within categories related to your business Page.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

As you can see in these screenshots, posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, when it becomes available to you, you’ll be able to access the new Inspiration Hub from the Home tab in Creator Studio.

At the right side of the screen, you can see the first of the new insights, with trending hashtags and videos from the last 24 hours, posted by Pages similar to yours, displayed above a ‘See more’ prompt.

When you tap through to the new hub, you’ll have a range of additional filters to check out trending content from across Facebook, including Page category, content type, region, and more.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

That could be hugely valuable in learning what Facebook users are responding to, and what people within your target market are engaging with in the app.

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The Hub also includes insights into trending hashtags, within your chosen timeframe, which may further assist in tapping into trending discussions.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

How valuable hashtags are on Facebook is still up for debate, but you’ll also note that you can filter the displayed results by platform, so you can additionally display Instagram hashtag trends as well, which could be very valuable in maximizing your reach.

Much of this type of info has been available within CrowdTangle, Facebook’s analytics platform for journalists, for some time, but not everyone can access CrowdTangle data, which could make this an even more valuable proposition for many marketers.

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Of course, overall performance really relates to your own creative, and thinking through the action that you want your audience to take when reading your posts. But in terms of detecting new content trends, including hashtag usage, caption length, videos versus image posts, and more, there’s a lot that could be gleaned from these tools and filters.

It’s a significant analytics addition – we’ve asked Facebook for more info on the rollout of the new option, and whether it’s already beyond test mode, etc. We’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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