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Facebook to Test Paywall Locking News Articles Behind Subscription

Campbell Brown a top company executive has said that Facebook could be testing a paywall for subscription news stories. This test could come as soon as October and will be a way for Facebook to support subscription business models on Facebook.

The paywall that Facebook wants to test in October would allow publishers to limit viewing of articles to 10 free views per month. So basically, you would see ten articles from your favorite news sites and then be asked to pay to see the rest.

Once readers have reached the 10 free views on articles, from a certain media company, they will have to sign up for a subscription to that publication or log into an account with an active subscription.

It has been stressed that Facebook would allow participating media partners to decide which stories are locked behind the paywall and which ones are not. 

They will also receive full data on their subscribers, which means this is really a benefit for Facebook above all else. This is more data that Facebook can use in numerous ways.

Nothing has been confirmed about how people will pay for a subscription.


Campbell Brown, who heads up the social network’s new partnerships business, made the reveal at the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit on Tuesday, The Street reported. We have independently confirmed that, too.

“We are in early talks with several news publishers about how we might better support subscription business models on Facebook. As part of the Facebook Journalism Project, we are taking the time to work closely together with our partners and understand their needs,” Brown told TechCrunch in a statement via a spokesperson.


The project is still in its infancy, and it may be subject to change, but TechCrunch understands that the current plan is to work with a handful of publishers to introduce a system that would limit free viewing to 10 articles per month, as Digiday previously reported. After viewing 10 articles from the media company, a user would be promoted to sign up for a subscription to that publication or log into an active one.

This can dramatically affect Facebook users of Facebook and especially in their wallet.

Many people use Facebook to read the latest news, connect with friends and family, or just watch random videos and view pictures. A subscription based news system could prevent users from doing what they have been doing for years. It might even scare people away from Facebook and send them to other social networks or news sites.

This could be good for the publishers because then they can earn money from their articles by offering the subscription. But the problem is that many people will be faced with a subscription after they've endured years of free news.

Facebook user who give in to this business model would pay out of pocket for news that they could read on another source for free. Why would people pay to read news on Facebook when they can likely go to the website or another source on their own?

Website publishers might lose traffic from Facebook, causing them to lose money on their advertising, thus forcing website owners to use the subscription based model and risk annoying their users. Free content with advertising on the side is where it's at, but now Facebook may push people to pay for everything. That's just bad business for the consumer because people on a budget will likely only subscribe to small number of news sites, or none at all.

I do not see this going well with the Facebook users.

Do website publishers not earn enough income from ads, that they now must move to charging people for information? If everyone starts charging for information, then there will be some sites who decide not to use that method. Some sites will keep their news free and they will probably get a LOT of new readers by staying free.

Facebook always said their service and their website would be free and up until now, they have stuck to their word. Is it worth it for them to charge users for a subscription to every random news publication out there? Doesn't Facebook earn enough money with all the sponsored ads and boosted posts they run? If you're wondering, Facebook ads aren't cheap!

Introducing a subscription based model could come with a nasty backlash from their loyal users.

I've always wondered what will be the big Facebook killer, and it seems like we might see one sooner than later.

Would you pay for news on Facebook?

Or would you read news articles on a website that is still free?

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