Facebook plans to pay out $1 billion to creators over the next year and a half as part of an effort to court content makers to its many services. The money will be awarded to creators who use Facebook products in different ways: on Facebook, creators can get a cash bonus for running ads on their videos or reaching certain tipping milestones during livestreams; on Instagram, creators can get paid for enabling ads on their IGTV videos, getting tipped in livestreams, or creating popular videos on Reels.
The money is available to creators on an invitation-only basis for now, and new options for making money will be announced later. Facebook indicated it would expand availability to more creators later in the year, launching a “dedicated place for bonuses within the Instagram app this summer and in the Facebook app this autumn.” The initiative is meant to make Facebook “the best platforms for millions of creators to make a living,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote today. The money will be disbursed by the end of 2022.
It’s an aggressive move from Facebook after years of other companies building more compelling locations for creators to build a platform and a business. More recently, apps like TikTok and Snapchat have offered to pay creators outright for posting successful videos to their platform. Snapchat paid out $1 million per day to creators after its TikTok competitor, Spotlight, launched in November and continued through May; a Snap spokesperson says the company continues to pay out “millions” per month. Facebook already offers some ways for creators to get paid, but the options differ across services. And some features, like Reels, may not pay out to creators at all.
Facebook’s approach is more confusing than other companies, framing the money as a “bonus” for completing various activities and goals, rather than focusing on a single product. But the intention seems to be investing cash to juice the company’s many different services all at once, helping them stand out as the apps start to see new competition from companies like TikTok and Clubhouse. Last month, Facebook announced that it wouldn’t take a cut from creators making money with a number of its services until 2023, in another attempt to make the network more appealing.
The company appears to be serious about turning creators into a new source of revenue. With ad issues elsewhere on the platform, direct tipping and payments can offer the company a backup if they grow to a big enough scale — though there’s certainly a long way to go.