Creators feel ‘screwed’ by social media and their algorithms

New data has revealed that the majority of creators feel ‘screwed’ by major social media platforms and their algorithms.

Membership platform company Patreon conducted a survey of more than 1,500 designers in ten countries.

According to the survey that was shared with Axios this week, 70% of creators said they felt social media platforms put them at a disadvantage, but 60% said they depended on these platforms to showcase their creative work.

75% of creators said they want to do more diverse work, but feel pressured by social media algorithms to keep posting what can work best.

In the study conducted between September and December last year, 73% of creators said they did not like the impact of algorithms on what they choose to publish, although being placed in streams of unfollowers sometimes results in lucrative endorsement deals eventually.

75% of respondents think algorithms punish creators for not posting consistently. While 40% of creators said they struggled to use algorithms to increase their reach and it’s unclear how to land on Instagram’s Explore page or TikTok’s For You page for example.

“We know these apps are important tools for creators, so abandoning them altogether isn’t the answer,” Patreon writes. “But depending disproportionately on just one puts you at the mercy of the platforms, which means any algorithm change can impact your earnings.”

Patreon’s survey also found that ad revenue is the fastest-decreasing source of revenue for creators, while paid memberships were the fastest-growing source of revenue, over the same period.

The discovery comes after several major tech platforms announced that they would introduce paid membership or subscription models on their platforms this year.

In July, Instagram revealed that creators will be able to lock their photos and Reels behind a paywall for subscribers using the “subscriptions” function. The new paid subscription feature was part of the app’s efforts to help creators earn a stable income. TikTok also posted its own Live subscription feature in May.

PetaPixel previously reported on an Adobe study that found the creator economy grew by more than 165 million people worldwide in the past two years, an increase of 119%.

The survey, which Adobe calls the most comprehensive study of the creator economy to date, found that creators make up 23% of the global population.


Picture credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.

Sharon D. Cole