According to new reports, Facebook may be looking to launch a freelance marketplace. The news was originally reported by The Information and expanded upon by Business Insider. On the surface, it seems like a weird move for a social media giant to take on a freelance website like TaskRabbit or Fiverr. However, there may be more to it.
What can you do on Facebook’s freelance marketplace?
Speculation is that the platform would live on Facebook Marketplace, which is popular for buying and selling goods. The would-be freelance marketplace is rumored to be for home repair jobs and other small household tasks.
In this sense, it’s hard to see Facebook becoming a competitor to thought-work and white collar freelance platforms.
Reasons why Facebook would be entering the freelancing game
It’s hard to say exactly why a company like Facebook would enter the freelancing game. As a social media giant, you’d typically expect it to focus on advertising-related products versus a freelancing product. However, that could be exactly what it’s doing. Here are a few of the reasons Facebook might want to launch a freelance marketplace.
Facebook is basically one big data engine. The company could be launching a freelance marketplace to learn more about you. A lot of people don’t fill out their profiles as much – their jobs, relationship status, and more. So a marketplace where you have to talk about your profession, skills, and what you charge for work could be a data play by Facebook.
Facebook’s core business is advertising revenue. They make billions each year by serving you advertisements. A freelance platform could be another way to do that. It could go along the same trend as Facebook pages. In the beginning, organic reach was very strong and advertisements were cheap. But as the platform grew, they limited organic reach and increased advertising revenue. The same could go for the freelance marketplace.
Facebook is considered the original social media network, but it’s not. Earlier platforms like Myspace and Friendster were wildly popular – until Facebook came along. Now the same thing is happening with Facebook as people slowly move onto other platforms for different parts of their lives. Launching a freelance marketplace could be in a similar vein to the belief by some that Facebook only bought Instagram and Whatsapp because usage was declining on Facebook in favor of the other two apps.
Move more into commerce
The pandemic was great for ecommerce. With lockdowns, the amount of people shopping online skyrocketed. Launching a freelance marketplace could be Facebook’s way of entrenching itself more as a commerce company than an advertising platform. You can already sell on Instagram via a partnership with Shopify, so this might be a way to move into the services side of commerce.
The future of work is freelance
Multiple studies show that freelancing has already grown as a result of the pandemic, and will continue to grow over time. Further, remote companies are more likely to hire freelancers. With the rise of remote work, that’s one more win for freelancing.
This isn’t to say everyone who enters freelancing is successful. While some studies show freelancers earn more now than at their jobs, other industries more hard hit by the pandemic saw decreased freelancer earnings.