Last week, Facebook CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg was in a 10-hour-long grilling by the U.S. lawmakers. One of the question they kept asking him time and time again, but Zuckerberg cleverly dodged over and over, is how Facebook makes its money.
Well, you know the answer to that is pretty straight forward. Facebook gets its money from you – you are the merchandise Facebook is selling – as it sells you to marketers online. Facebook is a giant and ever thirsty online funnel sucking in as much of your data as possible; over the years the social network has become even bold. There are accusations saying the Facebook mobile app listens on you even when you have not actively launched the app. The app is allegedly to also log your phone calls, SMS, and actively listens on you via your phone’s mic when in standby mode.
With over two billion people in the world on Facebook, the social network has a huge database to sell with marketers. That data is highly refined that marketers can serve you ads targeted with razor precision, all thanks to the position Facebook is in; it can access so much of your personal life.
Minds – The Social Network that pays you for your time online
During Zuckerberg’s grilling, Paul Tonko (D – New York) asked a very important question; “why doesn’t Facebook pay its users for their incredibly valuable data?”
Well, the simple answer would be such a business models will not make Zuckerberg and team at Facebook billionaires and millionaires. Paying its users doesn’t serve their bottom line.
There is an alternative social media platform that thought it wise to pay users for their time and data they give online long before Facebook was ever asked such a question. Launched in 2015, Minds is the social media site that see you as a partner and not a merchandize up for sell to the highest bidders like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest of the gang.
Compared to Facebook, Minds could very well be a drop in the ocean with its one million registered users and just 110,000 active users. However it is the best example of what an inverted online ads business model should look like, where you get paid for giving out your personal data.
Minds somewhat looks and feels like Facebook; it comes with news feed and tabs for browsing images, videos, groups, and blogs. If you are not following anyone in particular, that space in your news feed gets filled up with ads Minds calls ‘Boosts.’ You can however do away with the ‘Boosts’ by paying a $5 monthly subscription fee.
Users get ‘tokens’ when they interact with posts made by other users or by simply spending their time on the platform. As the 32-year-old founder, Bill Ottman, says:
“Helping people make money online is such an important focus of ours.”
Though you can yet translate the tokens you get by spending your time online on Minds into cash, you can use them within the platform to buy two types of Boosts:
News Feed Boots: They work as your typical digital ads (sponsored ads) on Facebook or Twitter where you get to inject your post on other people’s news feed.
Peer-to-Peer Boost: You get to pay others for sharing your post to their followers. This way, the users directly get paid and not the social media platform itself. Think of it as paying a popular YouTuber to wear your product while broadcasting on their channel.
“If you use the Boost well, you could have no audience and easily gain like five to ten-thousand followers,” said Ottman.
Compared to other social networking platforms, Minds is quite open about the financial relationship between the users.