Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is planning to develop virtual coins named “Zuck bucks” by staff for Facebook and Instagram users as part of products designed to bring down the platforms’ dependence on advertising in the future metaverse.
Facebook’s parent group, Meta, is developing a variety of virtual products like digital tokens and “creator coins” to diversify sources of income and reconnect with its user base, which is now more attracted to rivals like TikTok.
While Meta remains the dominant social media network provider with revenues rising 37 percent to $118bn in 2021 as advertisers fought with each other to reach the 4.9 billion monthly active users of Facebook and Instagram. TikTok has also developed a massive non-ads business based on in-app purchases and e-commerce.
Meta, which is known to adapt to other successful products of rivals like Snapchat is looking at ways to monetise its user base, according to reports.
The company is toying with the idea of products like “social tokens” or “reputation tokens”, which could be used as rewards. It is also planning “creator coins”, which can be used by influencers on Instagram.
The initiatives, which are being developed by Facebook’s financial arm, Meta Financial Technologies, are in the footsteps of the company’s earlier failed attempts to create a global cryptocurrency, a project called Libra and later Diem, which were abandoned in 2022 due to issues with the U.S house.
That was not the first time Facebook had looked beyond virtual finance. In 2009, it launched Facebook Credits to facilitate in-app purchases in the earlier highly popular games such as Zynga’s FarmVille. While successful, it was shut four years later after Facebook’s international growth led to costly foreign currency conversions.
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