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Facebook tests monthly subscriptions for some Groups

(CNET)—  Soon, you might be paying for access to certain videos or content on Facebook.The social network on Wednesday announced a pilot program for Facebook Groups that lets administrators create a paid tier option for their communities. Members can pay a monthly subscription to certain groups for access to exclusive content, including videos, tutorials and advice. The fees will range from $4.99 to $29.99.

Right now, the pilot includes a “very small” number of groups, Alex Deve, product management director for Groups, said in an interview. One group, called “Declutter My Home,” is creating a new paid subgroup called “Organize My Home,” which charges a $14.99 subscription fee. Members will have access to checklists and be able to work with other members on projects.

Another group, called “Grown and Flown Parents,” created a paid subgroup called “College Admissions and Affordability,” which charges $29.99 a month. It’s a dedicated college prep group with access to college counselors.

Administrators will be able to track and collect subscriptions through Facebook. The company said it won’t take any cut of the subscriptions.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has experimented with subscriptions. In March, the social network began testing the “option to support” video creators with a monthly subscription fee, in exchange for exclusive content or a badge highlighting their status as a supporter. On Tuesday, Facebook said it was expanding that feature to more creators.

Facebook is testing the subscriptions as consumers have gotten more comfortable with paying for content. Household names like YouTube and Spotify have subscription models to compliment their free versions.

Recently, people have even debated whether they would pay a subscription to Facebook itself. But instead of exclusive content, the payment would stop Facebook’s data tracking — a hot-button topic as the company has been slammed with criticism for its Cambridge Analytica data scandal and Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

Asked about broader subscriptions for Facebook, Deve said the new Groups features have nothing to do with that. He said the decision came from listening to feedback from Group administrators on Facebook, who wanted a way to pour money back into their Groups.

Credit:: CNET

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