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Creators Feel ‘Screwed’ by Social Media And its Algorithms

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New data has revealed that the majority of creators feel “screwed” by large social media platforms and their algorithms.

Membership platform company Patreon conducted a survey of more than 1,500 creators across ten countries.

According to the survey which was shared with Axios this week, 70 percent of creators say they feel social media platforms put them at a disadvantage, but 60 percent say they are reliant on those platforms to showcase their creative work.

75 percent of creators said they wish to make more diverse work, but feel compelled by social media algorithms to keep putting out what may perform best.

In the research that was conducted between September to December last year, 73 percent of creators say they did not like how algorithms impact what they choose to put out, though being placed in the feeds of people who aren’t following them does sometimes result in lucrative sponsorship deals eventually.

75 percent of respondents believed that the algorithms punish creators who are not constantly publishing. While 40 percent of creators said they have trouble using algorithms to increase their reach and it is unclear how to land on Instagram’s Explore page or TikTok’s For You page for example.

“We know these apps are important tools for creators, so ditching them completely isn’t the answer,” writes Patreon. “But disproportionately depending on any single one puts you at the whim of the platforms, meaning any algorithm change can impact your income.”

Patreon’s survey also found that ad revenue is the fastest-decreasing source of income for creators, while paid memberships have been the fastest-increasing source of income, over the same time period.

This finding comes after several big tech platforms announced that they will be introducing paid membership or subscription models to their platforms this year.

In July, Instagram revealed that creators will be able to lock their photos and Reels behind a paywall for subscribers using the “subscriptions” feature. The new paid membership feature was part of the app’s efforts to help creators earn a stable income. TikTok also released their own Live Subsciption feature in May.

PetaPixel previously reported on a study by Adobe which revealed that the creator economy has grown by over 165 million globally in the last two years — an increase of 119%.

The survey, which Adobe calls the most comprehensive look at the creator economy to date, found that creators make up 23% of people globally.


Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.

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