You can share some pretty seedy things on Facebook – graphic violence, racism, slander – but apparently distributing the link of a do-good social network is strictly forbidden.
That network is Tsu, an invite-only platform that shares its ad revenue with its content-sharing users. Any message that includes “tsu.co” on Facebook will be blocked citing an unsafe link, even in private messages.
Facebook claims links to Tsu have been abused by spammers, but it’s much more reasonable to assume the reason behind the barricade lies in Facebook’s attempt to stop users from flocking to a competitor.
“I don’t believe that Facebook and Instagram want Tsu to go viral. it would cost them a lot of money,” says Carolina Franco, a 28-year-old model in Colombia. “Very few people even know about Tsu.”
Very few people indeed – Tsu currently has less than five million users and new ones can only be added by existing members. So how would it directly cost Facebook money? A look at Tsu’s revenue model offers some indication.
Tsu’s founders believe users should be compensated for the content they create, so the company only keeps 10 per cent of all ad revenue generated. The remaining 90 per cent is divided among is users – you, the content creator, keeps 45 per cent, while the rest is divvied up among those who read the content. A robust analytics tool that’s viewable for the user publishing content keeps track of these interactions.
As writer David Fagin notes, “Can you imagine Mark Zuckerberg at the next shareholders meeting telling his investors he’s decided to give 90% of Facebook’s ad revenue to its users?”
No, you cannot.
And that’s where Facebook’s trouble lies – as a publicly traded company, the unfathomable amount of money generated from advertising is split up among a very small group of people. Content creators, meanwhile, receive nothing at all. Facebook’s already past the cool phase and absolutely cannot afford its network to be flooded by links to a service that Fagin called Facebook with a conscience.
And flood Facebook they would – As CNN Money writes, “there’s a financial incentive to post on Tsu, invite people to Tsu, and direct people to your Tsu page.” Naturally, people will be very inclined to share their Tsu content Facebook’s network of over a billion users. This consequently means it would make a lot of sense for people to share very new cat video, every breaking news story, every Drake meme, and literally everything on Tsu first. Eventually, as everyone shifts from Facebook network to Tsu, there would be no incentive to post on Facebook at all, subsequently rendering it a useless entity for advertisers.
Huh. So this is how Facebook could die.