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It may not cost anything to be on social media, but platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook make billions of dollars every year, and influencers are getting rich, too. how does social media make money?

Anastasia Mouser (US)

Scrolling doesn’t cost you anything but time, or so it seems. Open the TikTok app, and you can fall down a rabbit hole* of watching one short video after another. The content is entertaining, though most of it is probably made by people you don’t even know. On Facebook, you can join special interest groups, sell your old clothes on Marketplace or play games. And Instagram is the perfect place to post photos and reels of your adventures, while getting some fashion advice or life hacks. But if you aren’t paying social media platforms directly, then how do they make money? The answer isn’t that they are selling use of the platform to the user, rather it’s that they are selling their users’ attention to other companies.


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