META, the company that owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, is about to reverse its commitment to keep its apps completely free.
Corresponding The edgethe struggling California tech titan plans to start charging users for some features in the future.
An internal employee memo obtained by The Verge outlined a new group tasked with identifying and building “possible paid features.”
According to the document, the functions would appear on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
It is understood that they would take the form of new tools not currently appearing in the company’s apps.
If Meta’s plans work out, it would mean that users would have to pay to access the full versions of their apps for the first time.
Meta’s products have been free to use for years, with revenue generated through data-driven advertising.
However, the company’s ads business has taken a massive hit after Apple allowed users to ask apps not to track their data.
Meta’s latest earnings report revealed the company’s first year-over-year decline in ad revenue.
To stem its losses, the company is looking for new ways to make money amid stiff competition from companies like TikTok.
John Hegeman, Meta’s VP of monetization, who oversees the group, insisted the company remains committed to its ad business.
He told The Verge that Meta has no plans to let users pay to opt out of ads, an option for users of platforms like YouTube.
“I think we’re seeing opportunities to build new types of products, features, and experiences that people would be willing to pay for and would be willing to pay for,” Hegeman said.
He declined to talk about paid features being considered.
Some services available in Meta’s apps already cost money.
For example, Facebook group admins can charge people for access to exclusive content.
Instagram recently announced that some creators can charge users for access to exclusive photos and videos.
Meta will begin scaling back these transactions in 2024.
WhatsApp, on the other hand, charges some companies for the ability to message their customers.
Meta also plans to increase its profits by betting big on the Metaverse.
It believes that the virtual world is the next great evolution of how people live with the Internet.
In this sci-fi future, the public will use augmented reality glasses and virtual reality headsets to get around, work, or play.
But its construction will mean investing tens of billions of dollars in the Facebook Reality Labs arm, with no benefit for long.
“There is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding Meta’s investments in the Metaverse and whether or when they will be positive for the company’s bottom line,” analyst Debra Aho Williamson said earlier this year.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science Team? Email us at email@example.com
https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9340437/millions-facebook-whatsapp-users-forced-pay-unlock/ Millions of Facebook and WhatsApp users could be “forced to PAY” to unlock the full version of the app