SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed on Sunday that Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, will establish a premium subscription service with a starting price of $11.99 per month that will allow users to verify their accounts. Elon Musk had already made a similar move at Twitter.
Users will be able to verify a "account with a government ID, get a blue badge, get extra impersonation protection against accounts pretending to be you, and get direct access to customer support," according to Zuckerberg. Meta Verified will launch this week, starting in Australia and New Zealand.
In a message uploaded to his Facebook account, he said, "This new feature is about boosting authenticity and security across our services."
The business added that verified Facebook and Instagram profiles will remain the same and that only people who are at least 18 years old would be permitted to subscribe. Businesses are not yet able to use the service.
It was not immediately clear how Zuckerberg planned to price Meta Verified in countries where users cannot afford to pay $12 a month, or in cash-based economies where they may have fewer ways to get the money to Meta.
Musk's initial attempts to introduce a comparable service at rival social media network Twitter last year backfired horribly, scaring away advertisers and raising serious concerns about the site's sustainability.
He was had to temporarily halt the initiative before resuming it in December to lukewarm response.
Facebook played a key role in establishing the dominant business model of the internet's largest platforms, which rewards users with "free" services that collect and se ll their personal data to advertisers.
It is a model that has earned the company, along with other advertising titans such as Google, tens of billions of dollars a year over the past two decades.
The company recently announced that the number of Facebook’s daily users hit two billion for the first time — but between inflation eating into advertisers’ budgets and fierce competition from apps such as TikTok, those users are not bringing in as much revenue as they used to.