Having cornered a large share in the Indian telecom and digital market through its investments in Reliance Jio Platforms, Facebook is now offering a helping hand to the business community. They introduced a new feature on the platform that allows businesses to monetize online events in 20 countries including India starting today.
The Facebook Events feature, which has been designed for in-person events, has now been converted to support online events following a surge in live broadcasts on its pages since the Covid-19 induced lockdown, a senior company official has said.
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A report published on TechCrunch quoted Fidji Simo, Head of Facebook App, to suggest that live broadcasts doubled in June compared to the same period last year. In a blog post, Simo said users would be able to host larger events via Facebook Live while it is also testing the ability to host smaller and interactive sessions via Messenger Rooms.
"Today we’re launching the ability for businesses, creators, educators and media publishers to earn money from online events on Facebook. Now Page owners can create an online event, set a price, promote the event, collect payment and host the event, all in one place," Simo said in the post.
The official said that Facebook aims to support businesses and content creators by not collecting fees from paid online events for at least the next one year. "For any transactions on the web, and on Android in countries where we have rolled out Facebook Pay, small businesses will keep 100% of the revenue they generate from paid online events."
Readers would recall that Facebook has not been able to kickstart Facebook Pay in India and its efforts to have WhatsApp Pay is also stuck since six months. Early in August, the company received a major boost when the Reserve Bank of India had virtually cleared all compliance issues related to data-localization. The matter is still pending approval from the Supreme Court, leading to a few sweaty palms.
Given this scenario, we are not sure how Facebook would manage the payments, if any or would continue to rely on external payment gateways to close deals.
While taking credit for the move to provide some relief to small businesses, Facebook did not forget to take potshots at Apple with whom they're having a running battle over the costs incurred as App Store tax. "We asked Apple to reduce its 30% App Store tax or allow us to offer Facebook Pay so we could absorb all costs for businesses struggling during COVID-19. Unfortunately, they dismissed both our requests and SMBs will only be paid 70% of their hard-earned revenue," Simo said.
This step by Facebook should be of great help to individuals and small groups that have lost business due to the lockdown and could convert these live sessions into paid ones.