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Facebook, good. Apple, bad. Facebook, good. Everyone else, bad.
That is a little reducing, but essentially the message from Mark Zuckerberg. On his personal Facebook page, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will not cut the revenue influencers generate on its platform from a growing number of Facebook products through 2023 – and when it starts, its fees will be “less than that” 30% that Apple and others take. ”Additionally, Zuckerberg said Facebook would soon be releasing a helpful little dashboard for influencers to (supposedly) better manage their earnings and see which companies are taking some of their earnings.
Much is at stake here. To begin with, Zuckerberg increasingly pinned some of Facebook’s hopes for future growth on YouTubers, and last year announced a number of new initiatives to encourage influencers to build audiences for Facebook products. Among other things, Facebook plans to introduce audio capabilities with subscription plans, launch a marketplace where brands and influencers can network, and launch a subscription newsletter service, Bulletin.
To make matters worse, many other competing companies – TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube, to name a few – are working on similar things. As well as the fact that Facbeook and Instagram have spent many years largely ignoring the influencers on their platforms while these rivals cultivated them better and introduced ways to make money from their newfound fame, making these sites a more pathetic target .
To help Facebook stand out from the crowd, Zuckerberg is ready to do something that others probably aren’t: let the site’s creators make money without taking any of those dollars. These smaller companies will likely be more eager to show investors that these new, creator-centric products are making money. Facebook, on the other hand, has the enviable position of. . . doesn’t really need the money. It made $ 9.5 billion in profits last year alone and has $ 60 billion in cash alone. When YouTubers are happy and making money on Facebook, they are prevented from escaping to other websites and taking Facebook users away. The users have been and will remain the real money-makers for Facebook, the people who view the ads that make up the bulk of the company’s revenue.
The second factor in all of this is the burgeoning resentment between Facebook and Apple – and between Apple and other parts of Big Tech. Apple recently introduced changes to its operating system that will make it harder for Facebook to make money from ads, part of a larger disagreement between Facebook and Apple over privacy online. For its part, Facebook will do things like Monday’s announcement: Find ways to portray Apple’s policies as suffocating for small businesses on the web. (Facebook’s timing was obviously noticeable, Zuckerberg’s post came a few hours before Apple’s much-noticed annual developer conference.)
Of course, other companies are also taking the opportunity to do the same with Apple. Less than a month ago, a lawsuit between Apple and Fornite maker Epic Games over Apple’s allegedly monopoly control over large parts of the Internet was concluded, a dispute also flared up over fees and a disagreement about who should earn what.