This week in social media news, TikTok and Instagram have started testing support for paid subscriptions, YouTube shuts down original content group, Meta announces new artificial intelligence supercomputer and more.

TikTok Tests Support For Paid Subscriptions

As part of its latest creator monetization effort, TikTok is examining the option for creators to charge subscriptions for their content through a series of limited, temporary tests. 

Why it matters: The popular short-form video app says it’s seeking new ways to “bring value to [its] community and enrich the TikTok experience.” Should the new feature become widely available, TikTok will effectively increase its competitive advantage over Twitch, the only other major social media platform whose streamers regularly receive a substantial portion of income via paid subscriptions. 

The new feature may also prove beneficial given that several of the other key players in this space such as YouTube and Instagram pay content creators out of the companies’ own pockets—something TikTok also began doing in 2021 with a $200 million fund.

The details: Not much is known about the new trial period or how it may eventually be implemented given that TikTok declined to share additional details. News of the trial run comes shortly after the platform confirmed its testing of an in-app tipping feature that allows creators to accept money from fans outside of TikTok Live streams, and just one day after Instagram launched subscriptions in the US with a handful of creators who are now able to offer subscribers exclusive Live videos and Stories. Both TikTok’s and Instagram’s new subscription features follow Twitter’s September launch of “Super Follows” – its own version of a paid subscription service.

YouTube Scales Back Originals Division As Susanne Daniels Exits

YouTube has announced it will officially stop producing original shows. According to chief business officer Robert Kyncl, the decision came as a result of global head of original content Susanne Daniels’ resignation and the fact that YouTube’s rapid growth has brought with it new investment opportunities elsewhere, for example with the Creator Shorts Fund, Black Voices Fund and Live Shopping programming.

Why it matters: YouTube Originals was the platform’s attempt at venturing into the subscription-streaming business. After pivoting in 2018 and selling or killing off a number of original shows and movies, YouTube began to focus more on unscripted fare. Now, it will have the ability to invest in other initiatives that can make a greater impact on even more creators.

The details: YouTube has been producing originals for about six years. With Daniels stepping down from on March 1, Youtube will only be funding programs that are part of its Black Voices and YouTube Kids funds.

According to Kyncl, YouTube’s Partner Program has seen tremendous growth for ad-revenue sharing with 2 million participants. This opportunity to invest in other creators and ventures that show promise is more valuable to YouTube than its original shows and movies have proven to be.

Meta Announces New Artificial Intelligence Supercomputer

Meta (Facebook) has revealed its new supercomputer, the AI Research SuperCluster, the result of a two-year joint effort between Facebook’s AI and infrastructure teams and the company’s partners, including Nvidia, Penguin Computing and Pure Storage. Meta said it’s currently using the invention to train AI models in natural language processing and computer vision for research.

Why it matters: Jerome Pesenti, vice president of AI at Meta, said the supercomputer is being used for research purposes, with the objective of feeding it troves of data to build AI models that can think like a human brain and understand subtleties. This will come in handy as Meta builds a 3D multi-sensorial experience for its metaverse, which will require AI agents in the environment that are relevant to users, and as Zuckerberg told WSJ, “enormous compute power.”

The details: According to Meta, its new AI supercomputer houses 6,080 Nvidia graphics-processing units, putting it fifth among the fastest supercomputers in the world. And by mid-summer, when the AI Research SuperCluster is fully built, it will house about 16,000 GPUs, becoming the fastest AI supercomputer in the world.

Pesenti said products won’t likely arise from AI Research SuperCluster for years.

Instagram Launches Test Of Creator Subscriptions In US

As part of an initial test, Instagram’s latest monetization feature, Subscriptions, will be available to a handful of US creators who will be able to set a monthly price of their choice, unlock a “subscribe” button on their profile and offer a variety of benefits to their subscribers.

Why it matters: In 2020, Facebook launched Subscriptions and based on strong creator feedback, Meta said it’s ready to bring the model to creators on Instagram, enabling them to earn a recurring monthly income by giving them access to exclusive content. 

The details: Among the benefits creators using Instagram Subscriptions can offer followers are Subscriber Lives, where creators can broadcast exclusive Lives and allow subscribers to engage more deeply. Subscriber Stories will enable creators to create content solely for subscribers, allowing them to share exclusive content and to use interactive story stickers with their most engaged followers only. Subscriber Badges will place a badge next to comments left by subscribers to enable creators to easily identify them.

The 10 creators who will be part of Instagram’s early test include: @alanchikinchow, @sedona._, @alizakelly, @kelseylynncook, @elliottnorris, @jordanchiles, @jackjerry, @bunnymichael, @donalleniii and @lonnieiiv.

Pinterest Finds Men Plan To Spend More In 2022

According to Pinterest’s latest study, men are setting big goals for the new year and are actively planning to invest the time and money necessary to achieve them. Its research shows 75 percent of men will spend more this year to bring their goals to fruition.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s research found that men are highly brand conscious and willing to spend more on brands they know or trust, so it pays to reach them early and often. They convert quicker too, conducting fewer searches before making a purchase. More than any other factor, finding the right item is the top reason men say they had a successful shopping experience, said Pinterest.

The details: Eighty-five percent of men who use Pinterest say the platform feels personalized to them and 80 percent say shopping on the platform leads them to something unexpected that surprises and delights them.

To connect with these shoppers, Pinterest suggests brands plan their strategy for reaching men around pivotal times in their lives including seasonal holidays, cultural events and big life moments. It also recommends showing how your latest products can help them try new hobbies or have more fun in 2022.