Facebook to Pay Content Creators More Than $1 Billion Through 2022


FB -1.27%

said it would pay more than $1 billion to content creators on its social networks through 2022, a move that reflects the increasing value the company and its competitors see in the recorded videos, live-streams and other kinds of posts their users make.

In announcing the initiative Wednesday, Facebook joined its social network peers who have made big-dollar commitments over the past year to invest directly in people who are responsible for helping drive engagement among users. The billion-dollar total also reflects the bar set by pledges previously announced by Snap Inc.’s Snapchat, Google’s YouTube and Bytedance Ltd.’s TikTok.

Facebook said creators can receive payments for hitting certain milestones when using its products.The company also plans to provide seed funding to help creators cover content-production costs for its platforms. The programs will start on an invitation-only basis, Facebook said, without providing details such as timing or qualifications needed to participate.

It isn’t immediately clear yet, though, whether these bets will drive long-term loyalty among creators. People can build audiences on a variety of platforms, and the incentives being doled out to use them are fast-changing.

Savvy content creators have become a crucial part of the global social-networking landscape in recent years, helping platforms like TikTok and Inc.’s

Twitch grow in popularity. Anyone can become a star overnight on these internet hubs, and the companies behind them are eager to appeal to the most popular creators to stand out from their rivals.

The earning potential among creators—whether they are writers, musicians, dancers or videogame streamers—has set off a race among platforms to embrace and support creative talent. In addition to longer-established social-media platforms, startups like Patreon Inc., Alpha Exploration Co.’s Clubhouse and Baron App Inc.’s Cameo gained popularity during the pandemic among artists, subject-matter experts and celebrities.

Ron Josey,

an analyst with JMP Securities who covers the internet and digital-media industry, said that with these programs, the companies are responding to the success of TikTok, which continues to see strong engagement rates. TikTok was the most downloaded and highest-grossing nongame app world-wide in the first half of this year, according to research firm Sensor Tower Inc.

“TikTok is literally taking eyeballs away from other places,” Mr. Josey said. “The more Facebook can offer its users the same type of content, that’s a good thing. … More content can only help.”

Facebook has a massive global reach: It reported 2.72 billion people a day on average used one of its platforms including Instagram in March.

It is betting that monetary rewards will serve as a sweetener for those deciding which platforms to focus their energy on. The company recently launched new platforms such as Live Audio Rooms, for hosting group conversations, and Bulletin, for creating and distributing digital newsletters.

Chief Executive

Mark Zuckerberg

has said he wants the company’s platforms to be the best place for millions of creators to make a living. “Our goal is to help as many creators as possible find sustainable, long-term success on our apps,” the company said in a statement.

Other companies have made similar bets. TikTok said last year that its Creator Fund would invest more $2 billion in content creators world-wide over the next three years.

YouTube in May announced a $100 million fund, to be distributed this year and next, for creators of unique 60-second videos, called Shorts, “that delight the YouTube community.” The unit of

Alphabet Inc.

-owned Google said the fund is in addition to the more than $30 billion it has already paid out to creators, artists and media companies over the past three years.

Also in May, Snapchat said it had paid out more than $130 million to creators who contributed to Spotlight, a user-generated content feature launched last year within its app.

The moves could help Facebook and other tech giants tone down government scrutiny over the outsize impact they make on consumers’ lives, said

Tom Forte,

a consumer-tech analyst at D.A. Davidson. Offering users the opportunity to make money, rather than just serve as revenue drivers for advertisers, suggests they are “playing offense, not defense,” he said.

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at

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