Nick Bilton Argues That Facebook Should Pay Its Users For Posting Content

7 March 2013

Nick Bilton, The New York Times:

So why am I asking for money from Facebook and not Google? Although there havebeen hundreds of technology-related I.P.O.’s over the last decade, Facebook is the first real social-media public offering, where the content on the site is entirely created by its users. (The closest, LinkedIn, had additional business models, including premium payment subscriptions.) “The idea that a business benefits from social interaction is not so strange or new. A lot of cafes and small restaurants will let people hang out because they attract other people,” said Yannis M. Ioannides, a professor of economics at Tufts University. “What is unusual and new is that Facebook takes access to information about these people to make its business more powerful.” He added: “The proprietor of a cafe doesn’t use personal information about me and my friends to make money.”

Incentives don’t have to be monetary. Almost all “free” web services, including Facebook, only exist because they don’t need to charge for access. Users receive the inherent value of social networks (ease of communication and sharing, finding new friends, etcetera), and — in exchange — allow companies to monetise their information. This has been happening on the web for over a decade.

Facebook just needs to keep offering sufficient value, by bettering its products and features. The mere suggestion that Facebook should reward contributions to the site with money is preposterous.