Facebook Announces Plan to Allow Content Creators to Beg for Donations by @martinibuster

Facebook announced an initiative called Gaming Creator Pilot Program that will help video game live-content creators accept donations from their large followings. In exchange, Facebook will control every aspect of the live streaming gaming community, from the software that powers it to how the community is monetized. Specifically, this is a program that allows video gamers to live stream their gaming events and possibly profit. The move amplifies the Internet trend separating content producers from the platform on which their content lives.

Facebook Democratizing Content Creation

With some live stream content creators hosting events with nearly a million followers, the potential for content creators earning a living from their work is theoretically within reach. Producing entertainment is further democratized as the barrier to entry toward creating live video is further lowered.

“There’s a lot of work to be done, but we’re committed to building the fundamental architecture that gaming creators need to be successful, starting with foundational elements like enabling all creators in the program to livestream in 1080p/60fps. Most of all, with each new feature we add for gaming video, we’re committed to building it alongside our creators hand-in-hand.

To that end, many gaming creators monetize their videos directly from the support of their passionate fans, and we’re actively exploring ways for fans to back their favorite gaming creators via payments during select livestreams on Facebook.com. Based on the results of our initial tests, we’ll expand our fan support monetization initiatives to more gaming creators, including participants in our initial pilot program.”

Facebook Owns Your Democratized Content?

This is part of an ongoing trend where content is increasingly concentrated within the walls of a few organizations such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. Google has recently introduced a new program called Google Bulletin that allows citizens to publish local news, which can be seen as a part of the trend to remove control of content from traditional publishers and concentrate it within the hands of a large organization. What Facebook is doing fits into this trend of democratizing the creation of content while also walling it off and controlling everything about it, including how it is monetized.

What Does this Mean to Web Publishers?

Short term it’s relatively harmless. Long term, an argument could be made that Facebook is participating in the slow motion disruption of how users interact with the Internet. Facebook is seemingly on a march toward becoming the Internet itself. For example, Facebook groups are where people discuss issues and topics today, largely occupying the niche web forums used to cover.

Is Facebook Turning Publishers into Internet Panhandlers?

Traditionally content creators owned the content and the platform in the form of an HTML web page and the software that enabled it.  Live streaming is another step toward owning the platform and the content on which the Internet is built. Facebook offering a way for content creators to essentially beg for donations to earn a living is a fundamental change in the way the Internet has traditionally functioned, where content creators forged partnerships with sponsors and displayed advertising.

Here are the four goals Facebook outlined for it’s live video gaming platform:

  1. To own the platform on which the communities live
  2. Use Facebook’s resources to promote these communities to Facebook, Instagram and Oculus
  3. Introduce Facebook owned tools to assist content creators in monetizing their content
  4. Build a Facebook owned platform that allows anyone to become a content creator

What Does this Mean to Facebook Advertisers?

The implication for advertisers is that Facebook will continue to hold on to Internet traffic. Traffic to Facebook is what makes Facebook profitable. So everything Facebook is doing is very likely done with the purpose of ensuring that traffic levels remain constant and growing.

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