The New York Times has reported that Facebook now allows religious groups to charge $9.99 as a monthly subscription fees for access to exclusive content. The report claims that the social media giant is trying to win favour with religious groups, and has introduced two new tools this year to that effect.
Exclusive Content, Including Messages from the Bishop
The New York Times got in touch with the religious leaders of the Church of God in Christ church, which has reportedly been using two new features that were launched by Facebook to help religious groups like it, make a few (or a lot of) extra bucks. Out of the two new tools, one lets followers and worshippers make donations to the church while gaining access to livestreamed prayers and services. The other one, meanwhile, has Facebook allowing such religious groups to charge $9.99 per month as an exclusive subscription fees, for membership-only content like messages from the bishop.
And that’s not all, since the news also adds that Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook Inc., held a virtual summit for faith leaders, in a manner that it claims was akin to how religious services are carried out. The agenda of the summit was to discuss the new features that are currently under trial at Facebook, with these faith leaders.
The Times says that Sandberg holds that “Faith organizations and social media are a natural fit,” owing to the fundamental similarity between the two, which is that both of them are about “connection.”
Facebook’s Asking for Prayers
Meanwhile, just last week, Reuters too had issued a report about how Facebook has been trying to make it big among religious groups. As per the report, Facebook Groups in the US, especially those that have a religious inclination, have been provided with a new tool, one which can be used by people to offer and ask for prayers, from everything ranging from an ailing relative, to an examination result. The tool was first brought forward in May, and, (at least in the case of a woman asking for prayers for her sick aunt) has a button called “I Prayed” placed below the request.
Facebook, apart from the apparent “goodwill” with religious groups that it will most likely be fostering thanks to these new offerings, is perhaps also eyeing an increased revenue via the same. For example, the new prayer tool is also being used to direct targeted ads, much like what happens with other content and posts.