adobestock sdecoret 1 1 m
Source: AdobeStock / sdecoret

Facebook parent company Meta has decided that, less than a year after kicking off the functionality allowing to buy and sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) via its two flagship platforms, Facebook and Instagram, it will shut down NFT trade, as announced by senior company representatives. 

“Some product news: across the company, we’re looking closely at what we prioritize to increase our focus. We’re winding down digital collectibles (NFTs) for now to focus on other ways to support creators, people, and businesses,” Stephane Kasriel, the head of commerce and financial technologies at Meta, said in a tweet. 

The company representative declared that Meta is looking “forward to supporting the many NFT creators who continue using Instagram and Facebook to amplify their work.”

At the same time, Kasriel stated that the social media giant will continue to invest in the rollout of “fintech tools that people and businesses will need for the future. We’re streamlining payments w/ Meta Pay, making checkout & payouts easier, and investing in messaging payments across Meta.”

“Let me be clear: creating opportunities for creators and businesses to connect with their fans and monetize remains a priority, and we’re going to focus on areas where we can make impact at scale, such as messaging and monetization opps for Reels,” he said.

The latest announcement has triggered a wave of reactions from industry observers and  various stakeholders. A significant share of the comments criticized the social media giant.

Among others, Dave Krugman, a Brooklyn-based photographer and founder of creative community, tweeted that he considers Meta’s decision to be premature, but also potentially detrimental to the future development of creator-focused digital art marketplaces. 

“Such a short sighted move. Inclusion of digital collectibles has so much potential to help creators engage their communities and counterbalance the pitfalls of attention based advertising economies. You guys quit before you even started. A real shame and undoing a lot of really smart work by great people there,” he said. 

In another expression of criticism directed at the social media giant, Matthew Ferrick, the creative lead at Nifty Gateway, said that Instagram “just figured out (again) it’s more profitable/easy to continue exploiting artists for eyeballs to sell to advertisers instead of helping artists make money on their platform”.

He concluded by saying that “posts on IG never translated to more sales on nft marketplaces anyways”.

Last July, Meta moved to allow a group of U.S. creators to display NFTs on their profiles. The company initiated digital collectibles support on Facebook, initially limiting it to select creators and only in the U.S., kicking off a slow rollout.