Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has just announced on his social media page Meta has introduced a subscription-based verification badge service.
The service will involve users submitting their government IDs to the platform for verification purposes. In return, they will get a blue badge, direct access to customer service and improved security as it will help protect against impersonation.
To access the Meta Verified badge, a user will have to part with $11. 99 a month on the web version or $14. 99 on iOS.
The product will pilot in Australia and New Zealand before being rolled out to other countries.
In the comment section of the post, many users praised the move agreeing that the current Facebook verification badge system meant little as it did not provide much protection against scammers and impersonators.
Some commenters welcomed the move voicing that this way, they would now get access to the verification badge which had previously been reserved for institutions, celebrities, public figures or people with huge social media followings.
Others added that they looked forward to more of such platform improvement products from Meta.
Many however were quick to criticise the move.
They wondered why there was a need to pay to have direct access to customer service. Isn't accessing fast and efficient customer service a given right for users and consumers everywhere? The service should be accessible to all users at no charge at all they voiced.
Criticism was also levelled at Meta's current customer service with the major concern being that moving forward, it could get even worse for regular users, especially now that a price tag has been put on accessing direct service.
Some users also questioned the real motive behind this move wondering whether Meta has other hidden agendas behind their planned move of collecting information on its users' legal identities.
This could bring up huge privacy concerns, particularly in current times when platforms and devices are constantly collecting data from their users for marketing purposes.
Also, is the company gearing up for when its users will finally join their metaverse and is collecting legal identities in anticipation of when core interactions will be through avatars on Web3?
The move was also called a money grab with them accusing Meta of just looking for an additional way to collect money from its users especially since its revenues have been dipping in the last few quarters.
Some commenters noted they found it laughable that iOS users would have to pay more than web users to access Meta Verified.
Many users also found themselves wondering whether this was the end of the era of free social media as we know it. Right from the start, Facebook and Instagram have always been marketed as free for all platforms. Not anymore it seems.
Between Twitter and Meta platforms, a user would have to part with at least $20 a month to access premium service.
After the verification of those that would want the blue badge, in the future, will regular platform users be required to pay to keep their profiles is the question on the minds of many.
We can only wait and see.
Following in the footsteps…
When Elon Musk announced a few months ago that users would have to pay a fee to keep their blue tick on Twitter, many notable verified persons led by Stephen King complained voicing that Twitter should instead pay them to be on the platform. Their huge profiles were partly responsible for bringing audiences and their engagements to Twitter after all!
Elon Musk, after buying a non-profitable company at a price many said was above its true value did not budge, even after experiencing hiccups after the initial rollout. Currently, Twitter verified carries an $8-a-month subscription.
It looks like Zuckerberg has borrowed a tip from Musk on new ways to bring in much-needed revenues and to make his platforms more profitable.
Musk must be smiling wherever he is. It seems his idea, even though largely criticised at first was a mark of genius.
Zuckerberg also shared in an answer to his post that revenues collected from Meta Verified would help fund the expensive exercise.
Even though the company's share price surged almost 20% early in 2023 when Zuckerberg announced 2023 to be Meta's "Year of Efficiency", the CEO has been on the receiving end of harsh criticism from shareholders, ever since he displayed what has been termed as an obsession with the metaverse, a move that not only led to the dipping of Meta's share price in a looming recession but has also turned out to what seems like a money pit.
In 2022, the company's market value dipped more than $600 billion.
Serious competition from other social media platforms such as TikTok and expenses from the recent massive 11,000 employee layoff have dented the company's finances.
And even though the potential exists and future profits could be huge, through Reality Labs, its metaverse unit, Meta has so far lost more than $13.7 billion and has only come up with a product many have called visually substandard. Its Quest 2 headset sales also fell 17% in the fourth quarter of 2022 bringing in just $727 million, in revenue.
It seems like Meta's "Year of efficiency" will involve users digging into their pockets to access a service they have been enjoying for free bringing in more revenue to the company. That way, maybe Zuckerberg can keep channelling his decreasing profits to his metaverse and digital coins endeavours without suffering a major fallout with Meta shareholders.
Let's see how the pilots in New Zealand and Australia will go.
Will you get Meta Verified for $11.99 a month?
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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Excellent article -- thanks! My answer is no, I won't pay anything to Facebook for the blue check.
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