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Facebook Takes On Patreon With Fan Subscriptions Feature

Facebook is launching a Fan Subscriptions feature that allows users to pay a monthly fee for access to a creator’s exclusive content.

However, according to a policy document noted in reports, Facebook is offering some tough policies for both users and creators. The social media giant plans to take up to 30 percent of subscription revenue, minus fees, compared to the 5 percent taken by Patreon, 30 percent by YouTube and 50 percent by Twitch.

In addition, Facebook will have the right to offer free trials to subscriptions without having to compensate creators, as well as retain “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use” creators’ content, and “this license survives even if you stop using Fan Subscriptions.”

"'Facebook reached out to offer Hard Drive early access to a ‘fan subscription’ product,' tweeted Matt Saincome, who also runs satirical news site The Hard Times. 'I asked my editors about it, and the complete distrust amongst our team was [kind of] funny. We read through the terms, and found a couple things that were hilarious when compared to Patreon’s 5 percent. ... Up to 30 percent and the rights to all our stuff? From the people who let us build an audience on their platform before pulling it out from under our feet? Hilarious. Here’s a crazy alternative: Let people who signed up to see our content see it, and then we can monetize that.'"

The Fan Subscriptions service began testing last year, as Facebook looks to compete with Patreon, which currently has 3 million patrons that are set to pay 100,000 creators more than $500 million this year. Facebook expanded the test earlier this month to the U.K., Spain, Germany and Portugal, where users pay $4.99 per month to a creator for exclusive content, live videos and a profile badge to show they are a subscriber.

The company isn’t taking any Fan Subscriptions revenue during the test phase, and Facebook told reports that it hasn’t finalized its percentage cut yet.

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