Facebook is going to let publishers start charging readers to view stories

Posted July 20, 2017

According to new reports, Facebook is planning to implement a subscription service that essentially allows publishers to put a paywall in front of their articles on the platform.

The News Media Alliance that represents roughly 2,000 US' national and local newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, has started reaching out to Capitol Hill to sound out the chances for an exemption.

Brown said at a conference in New York Tuesday that news organizations have been calling for subscription capabilities. Newspaper publishers and the Associated Press have long blamed Google and other news aggregation sites for their woes, leading to threats that they will delist their content and begin charging online readers.

Facebook's current plan is to work with a small number of publishers to introduce a system that would limit free viewing to 10 articles per month, as Digiday recently reported.

"One of the things we heard in our initial meetings from many newspapers and digital publishers is that 'we want a subscription product - we want to be able to see a paywall in Facebook, '" Campbell Brown, the head of news partnerships at Facebook, said Tuesday at the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit in NY, according to CNET. "We are launching a subscription product".

If you aren't familiar with the paywall idea, it is based on metered and premium plans.

Additionally, publishers will have full control over their subscriber data, while the feature will enable authentication for existing subscribers.

The senior vice-preident of News Media Alliance says that they are not looking to break up Google and Facebook by saying they have a duopoly here, there must be a way to improve the business model. Now publishers are trying to find a way around one of the last barriers to not giving away their content for free: Facebook.

Facebook Inc is in early talks with several news publishers about how its social media site can better support subscription business models, the company's head of news partnerships, Campbell Brown, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Facebook hasn't disclosed how payments will be handled and if the company will take a cut of subscription sales.