Social media company Meta is pausing its Reels Play bonus program in the US, according to media reports. The Instagram parent is phasing out the program in order to shift its focus to a revenue share system instead. This applies to Reels creators both on Instagram and on Facebook (in the US) and takes away one of the main ways of monetization for creators of short videos on the platforms.
For those who are unaware, the Reels Play bonus program was launched by Meta back in December 2021 to give creators another avenue to monetize their content. While it intensified the competition between Meta’s social media platforms and TikTok and brought the short-video format under its aegis, it also promised creators to earn money. Reels Play Bonuses were introduced to incentivize users to create and share more content (in the form of short videos), for which they would be paid a sum each month for accumulating views (and fulfilling other metrics) on their Reels. The incentives promised that top-performing creators could earn as much as $35,000 a month.
The decision to pause Reels Play Bonuses in the US is not the first time that Meta has paused or discontinued one of its features. In 2019, the company introduced a similar feature, called Facebook Viewpoints, that rewarded users for completing surveys and other tasks. The feature was later discontinued. The move also comes at a time when social media companies are facing increased scrutiny over their role in promoting addiction and other negative behaviors.
This development also comes as Facebook is renewing its focus on scaling its ad-revenue options for Reels on the platform, and as Meta works on ad revenue share for Reels. Tom Alison, VP at Facebook, wrote in a recent blog post that the company would “continue expanding our ads on Facebook Reels tests to help more creators earn ad revenue for their Reels and grow virtual gifting via Stars on Reels.”
In recent years, there has been growing concern about the potential negative effects of social media use, particularly among younger users. Nonetheless, the decision by Meta to pause Reels Play Bonuses in the US is a positive step towards promoting healthy use of social media. While the feature was designed to incentivize users to create and share more content, it also posed a potential risk for addiction and other negative effects. By taking this step, Meta is demonstrating its commitment to user safety and well-being, and setting an example for other social media companies to follow.
According to the report by Business Insider on the matter, ongoing Reels bonuses will be honored for the next 30 days – which means that Meta will continue to pay out the ongoing bonuses for the time period. Once this is done, the Reels Play bonus program will cease to pay creators until Meta restarts it (if it does so).
A spokesperson for Meta told Insider in a written statement that the company was “evolving the test of our Reels Play bonus on Instagram and Facebook” and focusing on investing in a “suite of monetization solutions” that would be aimed to help creators earn steady streams of income. This has prompted the company to halt extending new and renewed Reels Play deals for US-based creators on Facebook and Instagram. Going forward, the social media company will “will look into ways to run the program in a more targeted form, for example in potential new markets.”