Facebook is testing subscriptions for private groups, where you pay for access to exclusive content

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Facebook is beginning to test a feature that would let Facebook Group admins charge a monthly fee for access, with the priciest one right now clocking in at $US30/month.
  • The pilot program only involves a small number of groups right now, including Declutter My Home, Grown and Flown Parents, and Cooking On A Budget: Recipes & Meal Planning.
  • Facebook will offer built-in tools that bill users directly through iOS and Android.

Facebook is testing a way for people to monetise its widely-popular Facebook Groups feature, in which as many as thousands of users gather together in a private, virtual club to talk about their interests.

The company announced Wednesday that it’s testing a service that would let the administrators of these private groups charge a monthly fee for exclusive content, allowing them to potentially profit off of their membership. The pilot will only involve a small number of groups, including subscription-only offshoots of Declutter My Home, Grown and Flown Parents, and Cooking On A Budget: Recipes & Meal Planning.

Think of it like a membership fee to get into an exclusive club.

“We hear from group admins that they’re looking for ways to help them earn money to deepen engagement with their members and continue to support their communities,” Alex Deve, product director of Groups, said in a blog post.

Subscription groups 2Facebook

The premium group for Declutter My Home, for example, would give paying subscribers access to exclusive content, group challenges, trainings, and live Q&As for $US14.99 per month. The Grown and Flown Parents group, meanwhile, will charge $US29.99 per month to focus on college admissions and affordability, with access to college counselors. And Cooking On A Budget: Recipes & Meal Planning will launch a $US9.99 a subscription group that includes weekly meal plans and shopping lists.

Facebook won’t take a cut of the subscription fee, and subscriptions will be handled via the in-app purchasing tools on iOS and Android. The built-in billing tools, Deve said, will save admins “time so they can focus on offering members-only content.”

Since this is only a test, the feature won’t be available to every Facebook group admin. And the company did not say if subscription groups will eventually be rolled out to everyone.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

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