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Facebook to allow paywalled articles later this year

Yesterday's memes are now today's news. (Source: Know Your Meme)
Yesterday's memes are now today's news. (Source: Know Your Meme)
Facebook is reportedly working on a paywall system to access shared articles.

There used to be a meme on Facebook where you would post a picture stating "This image requires a facebook gold account". Inevitably, people would comment stating they couldn't see the image and ask where they could sign up for Facebook Gold. Yesterday's memes are today's news it seems, as apparently the media giant's head of news services, Campbell Brown, mentioned future plans for a paywall-type system for accessing articles.

Apparently, the system (still in its conceptual stage) will function as part of Facebook's existing "Instant Articles" feature. It is planned to work in a similar way to other paywalls that sites like the New York Times or Washington Post use where each user is allowed a limited number of free articles per month  — but once over that limit, they will have to purchase a subscription to view any article.

It isn't clear what the end-game is here for Facebook. Brown said that the subscription system is in response to ongoing lobbying for paywalls on behalf sites whose content is being shared on Facebook. It certainly isn't surprising for a company like Facebook (which boasts over 2 billion monthly users) as they have an extremely large captive audience; however, it does seem a little greedy given that Facebook already makes such a huge amount of money by data-mining its users.

The system is said to begin limited implementation in October.


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Douglas Black, 2017-07-20 (Update: 2017-07-20)