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Facebook Set to Test Paywalled News Subscription Service

Social media giant Facebook Inc. FB recently confirmed that it is launching a news subscription feature that will give publishers the option to lock Instant Articles behind a paywall.

Campbell Brown, who was brought on to lead Facebook’s news partnerships team, spoke at the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit in New York City, according to The Street, saying “One of the things we heard in our initial meetings from many newspapers and digital publishers is that 'we want a subscription product -- we want to be able to see a paywall in Facebook'…And that is something we're doing now. We are launching a subscription product.”

The new feature will be built on top of Facebook’s existing Instant Articles, a recent product of the company designed for publishers to create “fast, interactive articles” on the social media platform. Now, publishers will be able to direct readers to sign up for a digital subscription or block them from reading any more content once they’re read 10 articles in a month. The New York Times has this limitation already in place on their website.

Like the NYT, Facebook is looking to implement a similar, metered option, and once you hit your limit, you’ll be directed to a publisher’s homepage to purchase a subscription. Initial tests are set to begin this October, and the news subscription service will expand in 2018 if all goes to plan.

While right now it’s unclear if Facebook will be sharing in any of the revenue from future purchased subscriptions, this move shows the company figuring out a potential way to make even more money off its digital platform.

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