As any parent in 2018 knows, if you have a question about parenting, the interwebs will help you out – and often in the form of Facebook mothers groups.
One such group is Mums The Word, started and administered by Sydney mother Carly Abrahams.
The group provides practical advice and support to parents, and relies on the 25, 000-strong community to contribute. Like the majority of groups on Facebook, it’s been free to join – until now.
Abrahams recently posted that she was requesting a $10 payment from current and future members to compensate her for the considerable time and effort she spends administering the page. The administration work, she explained, included the costs of running the page, managing memberships, monitoring comments and replying to messages.
“Managing and monitoring this wonderful Facebook page is a 24/7 job for me,” Abrahams wrote. “I get messages on weekends, late at night, from 5:30am and everything in between and if I don’t respond they just keep coming.”
“I ask that if you have ever found this group useful, if it’s every helped you find a babysitter, plumber, cleaning tip, baby support, parenting advice or anything at all and you’d like to give back or support then you can just click this safe and secure PayPal link.”
Whilst charging a subscription fee is technically not prohibited by Facebook, the group's 24, 000 members had an impassioned response to the request. Many were suspicious of how the funds would be spent, queried tax implications, and were outraged they were being expected to pay for advice and information provided by the community.
"So how do we know that the group won't be closed after spending the $10?", one asked. Others offered to help administrate the page if the task was too arduous on the founder. Many members did the maths and calculated that if every existing member were to pay, the page would receive $240,000.