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Gratuities accepted? Facebook may allow users to set up tip jars

Facebook could be set to follow in the footsteps of YouTube by allowing its users to profit from their posts.

The social network reportedly circulated a user survey this week, which lists a number of potential monetization options for Facebook users, reports The Verge.

Among the ideas on the survey was a “tip jar” that would allow fans to donate money to a user, sponsorship deals involving branded content, a charity donation option (another concept pinched from YouTube), and ad revenue sharing. Additionally, the survey also reveals a “call to action” button (much like the feature available for Facebook pages), which lets you direct your followers to “sign up” to your posts or purchase something.

It is unclear at this stage whether Facebook intends to roll out all, or any, of these options to its mammoth user base. The survey was spotted by a verified user, indicating it may just be reserved for similar established individuals, or celebs.

A move for broader monetization would fit into Facebook’s current strategy, which has seen it open up its Instant Articles publishing feature (which comes with its own advertising options) to everyone. The site’s recently launched Live Video function also allows media partners to broadcast sponsored videos that carry brand logos.

Despite their unstoppable expansion, traditional social media platforms have offered little in the way of revenue generation to their supposedly valued users, even those with big followings. Instead, homegrown stars on the likes of Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine have been resourceful enough to seek out their own advertising and sponsorship deals.

Perhaps Facebook has finally realized that it needs to offer more financial incentives in order to attract influential users, particularly in the case of its new publishing and video features. Whether this will result in a trickle-down policy that allows members of its wider user base to profit from posts remains to be seen.

The survey also reportedly asked a series of questions about the type of personal data the respondents would find most interesting, including stats about video views and post engagement (the latter option is already available on Twitter in the form of the “tweet activity” button). These sorts of metrics tend to be sought out by advertisers looking for targeted content, or celebs seeking to monitor and increase their followings.

For now, it remains just a survey. While a test generally indicates that a new feature is coming, survey results could be whittled down to just one option, or even nothing, depending on Facebook’s long-term plans.

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