Here's how much Facebook and Twitter make off each user. Should you be getting a cut?

Here's how much Facebook and Twitter make off each user. Should you be getting a cut?
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Great meme, buddy! Here's an improbable amount of money.
Thinkstock

You do a lot for Facebook. Frankly, so do we (odds are, Facebook is how you clicked on this article), but none of us are being paid for it. Every second you waste staring at it is a second spent scrolling past ads, and every time you make a post you give your friends a reason to waste even more seconds scrolling past their own ads. Every piece of content you give it or click on gives Facebook the power to charge higher rates on the next ad. How much does Facebook make from you? According to the Guardian, it depends, like so many things, on whether you're an American.

Related: Here are 11 incredibly stupid Facebook moments to mark the 11th birthday of Facebook.

Worldwide, each user is currently making Facebook about $12.76 a year (up 20% from last year), but that's a hefty $48.76 if you're a US citizen, compared to a paltry $7.75 for everyone else. For Twitter, Americans make the company $24.48 annually, and everyone else makes $3.51. According to "web philosopher" (and Microsoft employee) Jaron Lanier, users should get paid some of that cash every time they hand over the personal info to "spy agencies" (as he calls social networks) that makes them so much more valuable to advertisers.

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Getting a cut of less than fifty bucks annually may not sound like much, but let's keep in mind that it's the users that give anyone a reason to come to Twitter and Facebook (and let's face it—many users are far more entertaining than others). When was the last time you liked a post from Facebook, Inc? Furthermore, the most active users contribute the most to the site. Would you visit Facebook if it was really just your relatives chatting? It's also where you find viral content, new videos, and news stories. 

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Related: Here's your front row seat to 14 hilariously brutal Facebook fights.

There's a reason Facebook started integrating content from BuzzFeed and the New York Times directly onto the site. Those outlets presumably get paid for this, since viewing it on Facebook means users aren't going to their site and seeing ads. But what about ordinary users who just happen to be really good at finding cool stuff and bringing it to everyone's attention? This gets even more stark for video: ever since Facebook started hosting video directly, it's meant no ads whatsoever, unlike YouTube. Anyone who posts a video on Facebook gives it to Mark Zuckerberg for free, for him to make money from.

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Related: This may be the greatest comment section in the history of Facebook.

Likewise, it's well-known that the most active Twitter users account for a disproportionate amount of the site's activity. If the people who drive the site's debates and viral hashtags went away, it really would be the "here's what I'm eating for lunch" site everyone joked about in 2007. Shouldn't those people get paid for bringing everyone else to the party?

Related: Twitter explodes after woman named Sarah O'Connor accidentally tweets ultimate 'Terminator' reference.

TL;DR—Everyone should get paid a little bit for exposing themselves to Facebook and Twitter, because advertisers will pay more to make sure their message gets to the right kind of people. Frankly, I'd go a step further and say the content creators who make visiting the site worthwhile (like on YouTube) should get another cut. In conclusion, I hope I'm not banned from Facebook for this.

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