Facebook will soon ask you to pay?

San Francisco: Facebook is reportedly  planning to let people subscribe to publications through its 'Instant  Articles' feature and support major publications with metered paywalls  and "freemium" models.

According to a report in DigiDay on  Monday, these options would seem to accommodate metered publications  including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and The Economist,  which make a certain selection of articles free and put the rest behind  a paywall.

"We are in early talks with several news publishers  about how we might better support subscription business models on  Facebook," the report quoted Campbell Brown, Head of News Partnerships  at Facebook, as saying.

The company plans to test the  subscription tools with a small group of publishers at the end of the  year and later expand them to others in 2018.

Facebook will also give access to publications to all subscriber data through which they can understand their audience better.

"The  idea is to have a diverse mix in the test group, representing US and  international and big and small titles," the report noted.

The  company has had one-on-one briefings with multiple media houses  including The New York Times, Hearst and The Economist and plans to have  group meetings with more media executives this week.

"We've been  briefed and are continuing to evaluate if we're going to participate.  So far, we don't see any great upside," the report quoted an executive  from The New York Times as saying.

It is unclear, however, how payments will be handled and if the company will take a cut of subscription sales.

"Payments  are complicated because when they go through smartphones' app stores,  the stores take a 30 per cent cut," the report added.

But it is  believed that Facebook may let publishers handle it through the mobile  web and let them have more control over pricing and data.

IANS