Why does Facebook not have a partner program like YouTube

Aiming to promote outstanding contents, YouTube launched a Partner Program to share profits with creators in 2007. Now, it has over 20000 partners from 22 countries. But in the meantime, another successful Online Social Network (OSN), Facebook has no intention to do so. I think the reason that cause the difference is the content-driven nature of YouTube.

Previous researches have shown that the function of Facebook is social searching, that is, finding information about offline contacts, rather than social browsing, developing new connections. People consider the ‘keeping in touch’ function as the primary reason using Facebook. Hence in Facebook, what is uploaded is somewhat less important than who uploaded the content. People has a direct user-user relationship since they know each other which partly prevent people stop using it due to low quality.

But unlike other OSNs, the interaction of YouTube is much like a user-content-user relationship, in which the content of the video plays an important role. Opposed to directly interacting by sending messages, interactions on YouTube such as rating or commenting, centers on the video. Though by subscription, registered users are connected, further interaction is hard to build. Since subscribing to the video’s creator is a directed link, reciprocal linking is rare in YouTube while it is common in Facebook. Studies also show that the subscribers and the subscribed-to users are often interested in different topics and there is little overlap between commenters and subscribers. Lacking reciprocity and homophily, user of YouTube are unlikely to have a deep interaction, which forces YouTube to have high-quality videos.

The content-driven nature of YouTube makes the high-quality videos essential which leads to the launch of the partner program, while the user-user relationship in Facebook makes the content less important so that a similar program is not needed.

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