Meta reportedly has a new division that is exploring new products to build "potential paid features" on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp services, according to an internal memo sent to employees last week and revealed by The Verge.
The new division is Meta's first serious attempt at building paid features into the major social networking apps, which boast billions of users. It was created after Meta's ad business was hit hard by Apple's iOS ad tracking changes and a broader pullback on digital ad spending.
The new team, called New Monetization Experiences, is led by Pratiti Raychoudhury, who headed Meta's research.
In an interview with The Verge, Meta's vice president of monetization overseeing the new division, John Hegeman, said that the company will remain committed to ad development and that it does not plan to solicit payments from social media members. networks to disable ads in their apps.
"I think we have opportunities to create new types of products, features and experiences that people will be willing to pay for," he said.
But he declined to elaborate on the paid features being considered.
Meta's revenue comes almost entirely from advertising, and while it already has many paid features in its apps, the company hasn't made charging users a priority until now.
In the long term, Meta sees paid features becoming a more meaningful part of its business. "Over a five-year time horizon, I think they can really make a very significant difference."
Meta isn't alone in pushing for more paid features. Social network applications have increasingly turned to this solution in the last couple of years. TikTok started testing paid subscriptions for content creators earlier this year, Twitter has its Super Follows service, and Discord makes its money entirely from Nitro subscriptions. Additionally, this year both Telegram and Snapchat added paid tiers that unlock additional features.
"Obviously we're paying attention to what's going on in the industry," Hegeman said. "And I think there are a lot of companies that have done interesting things in this space that I think hopefully we can learn from and emulate over time."