Facebook's Patreon Competitor May Not Benefit Creators
Photo Credit: AfroTech

Facebook's Patreon Competitor May Not Benefit Creators

Facebook’s Fan Subscriptions is meant to be a Patreon competitor, but the service may not actually benefit creators. Facebook wants to take six times more revenue than Patreon itself does, according to policy documents obtained by TechCrunch.

Last March, Facebook announced its Fan Subscriptions feature, where people can subscribe to their favorite creator’s content for $5 a month. Originally, it was only open to 10 creators across the US and UK, but Facebook is beginning to expand.

The service is obviously comparable to Patreon, where fans subscribe to a creator’s platform in exchange for exclusive content. However, on Patreon, creators charge their own prices and can have different levels. So, fans can pay more to be at a higher level, where they have access to more exclusive stuff.

But, where Patreon takes only 5% percent of subscription revenue, Facebook wants to take 30%.

Not only does Facebook want to take a big cut, but it can also offer “discounted or free trials for fans from time to time in our discretion”. The costs of those discounts will come directly out of a creator’s pockets.

Because the subscription is still testing, Facebook isn’t taking any money right now. A Facebook spokesperson told The Verge that the number of people testing the feature are in the low thousands.

The company also claims it “has not yet determined the exact [revenue share] figure for when the feature launches”, but they’ll follow industry standards.

It’s unclear what that means to Facebook, though. A 30% cut is typical for an app in Apple’s or Google’s store, but huge for a platform that’s supposed to be creator-focused. People already have trouble getting by on Patreon, as reported by the Outline.

In addition, Facebook wants a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, world license”. Essentially, Facebook can do whatever it wants with someone’s content — even if a creator stops using Fan Subscriptions, according to the documents.

Even if Facebook comes back with a lower share number, major changes will have to happen to make Fan Subscriptions worth creators’ time.