Facebook Starts Testing Patreon-Like Memberships for Creators and Their Fans


Facebook really wants to get video creators to choose its platform over YouTube, and is now borrowing some ideas from Patreon to sweeten the deal: The company is starting to test a membership model that allows fans to support their favorite creators with a monthly recurring fee, it announced Monday.

Creators who participate in the test will be able to offer paying supporters exclusive content, and patrons will also get special badges to display on their Facebook profiles.

“We plan to offer a range of monetization options to serve the wide range of creators at various stages of their journeys,” said Facebook VP of product Fidji Simo and director of entertainment partnerships Sibyl Goldman in a blog post. “We’ll start testing with a small set of creators so we can gather feedback from them and their fans before expanding.”

Facebook announced the new test together with a few other updates for creators, which also include bringing its existing Facebook Creators app to Android. In addition, the company announced the launch of a new version of its rights management solution that’s supposed to be easier to use for creators, as well as a new way for creators to strike up partnerships with advertisers for branded content.

Out of all those updates, the paid membership model seems particularly notable, and not only because it will force Facebook to enable in-app payments within its Android and iOS mobile apps. Enabling creators to add monthly payments could also potentially undermine Patreon, which has attracted more than a million patrons, who give money to over 50,000 creators every month.

Interestingly, Facebook’s move comes after Patreon recently launched a feature inspired by popular social media apps like Snapchat and Instagram: Last month, Patreon added its own take on the Stories feature to its mobile app, allowing creators to quickly send photo and video updates to their supporters.