Facebook to spend $1bn on content creators

15 Jul 2021

Image: © Chinnapong/Stock.adobe.com

The new reward programmes come as the company vies with YouTube and TikTok in short-form video.

Facebook has announced plans to spend more than $1bn on rewarding creators who make content for its social media platforms.

The strategy, announced in a post on the company’s blog, will focus on Facebook and Instagram, and will include both rewards for hitting specific engagement targets and seed money for new content initiatives. Facebook says its goal is “to help as many creators as possible find sustainable, long-term success on our apps”.

The first of these programmes is called Bonuses and is already in operation on an invite-only basis. On both platforms, creators can earn supplemental income for agreeing to have ads displayed with their video content, in addition to the regular revenue from these ads.

On Instagram, creators can also earn revenue from ‘badges’ for hitting specific targets, such as doing a joint livestream with another account. The social network will also be offering a specific bonus to US creators who use the Instagram Reels video platform during this summer.

On Facebook, content viewers can send ‘stars’ to creators whose content they enjoy, with the creator earning a small amount of money for each one they receive. As part of the new investment programme, hitting target numbers of stars will earn some creators additional revenue – especially those making game-related content, .

However, the company said that these programmes will be “seasonal, evolving and expanding over time”. Over the coming months, first Instagram and then Facebook’s apps will gain information centres where creators can learn about how to earn rewards.

Facebook’s announcement comes amid fierce competition between social media platforms for users and creators, especially in the area of video content. Google’s YouTube this week announced a short-form video platform called YouTube Shorts, designed to compete with TikTok and Instagram Reels.

YouTube will be making $100m available to creators on the new platform over the next year and a half, with the company having invested more than $30bn in content creation in the last three years alone. Last year, TikTok announced a $2bn fund for creators on its app, and Snapchat reportedly pays $1m a day to creators of the most popular videos on its TikTok competitor platform Spotlight.

Platforms are also reforming how they handle content. Facebook has launched an initiative to combat extremism, while TikTok extended its maximum video length and began more aggressively removing underage users from its app.

Jack Kennedy is a freelance journalist based in Dublin