Facebook is letting 10 media outlets charge readers subscriptions to view stories

Facebook is letting 10 media outlets charge readers subscriptions to view stories

Well now it's October, and surprise - Facebook has started testing subscription support for instant articles!

The publishers will have the option of either a metered paywall, where they require Facebook readers to pay for a subscription after they've read 10 articles from that particular outlet, or a "freemium" model that makes certain articles available to read for free while others remain behind the publisher's paywall.

It was first reported a couple of months back that Facebook could bring paywalled content to Instant Articles.

Several major publishers have decided not to take part, largely because Facebook will not give access to reader data until they purchase a subscription.

If a person subscribes after prompting, the publisher will handle the payment directly and keep 100 percent of the revenue, Facebook said. The subscriptions will then also include access to the publisher's full site, and existing subscribers can also authenticate within Instant Articles so they can get full access without paying twice.

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If you decide to subscribe, you'll be sent to the publisher's website to complete the transaction. Notably, Recode reports that Apple is balking at the subscription signup flow, saying it violates the company's rules about subscriptions sold inside apps. Thus, the feature is not launching on iOS-at least not right now.

The social network giant said it will test "premium news models" for organizations that deliver their content on Facebook, to enable the publishers to have more control over pricing, subscriber relationships and revenue.

The test will initially roll out on Android devices, but the trio said Facebook is hoping to expand it in the near future.

Facebook said it's testing this with a "small group of publishers" in the U.S. and Europe, including The Boston Globe, The Economist, The Houston Chronicle, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Telegraph, The Baltimore Sun, The Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and The Washington Post. Apple typically insists on getting a 30% share of money from subscriptions sold within iOS apps such as the Facebook mobile app. This is going to happen over the next few weeks.

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