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Facebook, Instagram to roll out paid subscription for verified accounts

by Joyce Remo

SOCIAL networking sites Facebook and Instagram will soon be launching a monthly subscription that will give a blue tick badge to ordinary users, parent company Meta announced.

Meta’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Monday, February 20, that the new product  called “Meta Verified” would certify that the holder of the account is authentic and not an impostor.

The Meta blue badges were initially utilized as verification tools for high-profile accounts to indicate their authenticity.

Why it matters

In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg said this subscription service would allow users to have their accounts verified through a government-issued ID.

Verified users will be able to acquire extra impersonation protection against accounts that claim to be them and will be guaranteed direct access to customer support. 

This will also enable Meta to find and remove imposter accounts more effectively because they would be able to recognize which user is fraudulent due to the presence of the user’s government ID.

What’s the catch?

Just like Twitter, the Meta blue badges come with a price.

Zuckerberg said the Meta Verified subscription would cost $11.99 (P 665.74) per month on the web or $14.99 (P 832.32) per month on iOS.

Aside from security features, subscribers would also experience an increase in their post visibility. 

This move from Meta follows Elon Musk’s premium Twitter Blue subscription that was launched on the bird app in November 2022. 

While some praised Zuckerberg’s initiative to put an end to the growing population of fake and troll accounts on Facebook and Instagram, other users were dismayed that he monetized this feature when it should be part of Meta’s core offerings.

Meta users’ reaction

“This really should just be part of the core product, the user should not have to pay for this,” Facebook user Mark Nathanael Hardy commented.

Zuckerberg replied that verifying government IDs and allowing direct access to customer support for a massive number of Facebook users will entail additional costs for his US$320 billion company.

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“Subscription fees will cover this and will also pace how many people sign up so we’ll be able to ensure quality as we scale,” the Meta chief executive said.

Meanwhile, another Facebook user, Refael Ozeri, argued that the presence of fake accounts is an issue of the platform itself and making users pay for the damage it inflicts is intolerable.

“It’s an issue that damages the platform itself, much more than any individual,” he commented. “Making us, your users pay for that, is unacceptable — and that attitude exactly is why so many people find themselves less active on Facebook.”

He also noticed that iOS users are being discriminated against for being asked to “pay more for the same service.”

On the other hand, user Wendy Harrison noticed that companies have been aggressively trying to monetize their products. They are more focused on milking clients for money than providing them with good service, Harrison said.

“From the travel industry, food, etc. the obvious intent is to no longer create a great customer experience but instead looking at their customers and clients simply as dollars — so they can fill their pockets even more than they have in the past,” the Facebook user wrote. 

“I don’t know about anybody else, but it’s becoming very creepy and I honestly don’t appreciate being viewed simply as a dollar sign – my humanity is feeling as though it’s totally absolutely meaningless,” she added.

Rollout

Australia and New Zealand will be the first to experience this new Meta product this week. 

The release date for other countries is yet to be announced.

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