Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has announced that major changes are coming to the platforms for Australian users.
Verifications on both social media sites will now be moved to a subscription model. Australian users who want to have the blue check that verifies they are legitimate will need to pay a monthly fee of $19.99 on desktop or $24.99 for iOS and Android.
According to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the move will help smaller creators "grow their presence and build community faster." Meta verified is a subscription bundle on Instagram and Facebook that includes a verified badge that authenticates your account with government ID, proactive account protection, access to account support, and increased visibility and reach
Zuckerberg announced the new feature on his own Instagram account on another new feature called Instagram channels. This allows creators to send messages to all their followers and can be used for announcements.
The new verification service will be rolled out in Australia and New Zealand this week, with Zuckerberg saying he hopes it will be made available worldwide soon after. However, the announcement was met with criticism, especially around the cost to be verified, with many comparing it to the cost of Twitter's blue check.
Despite the criticisms, Zuckerberg is optimistic about the new feature and hopes that it will help to clean up some of the fake accounts from Facebook and Instagram. The new subscription model will allow users to have a verified badge and access to other features to help them build their presence and engage with their followers.
The move by Meta to introduce a subscription model for verifications on Facebook and Instagram has generated both positive and negative reactions from users.
Legitimacy: The verification badge can help users establish their legitimacy, which is especially important for businesses and public figures who want to build trust with their audience.
Increased Visibility and Reach: The subscription model promises to provide increased visibility and reach to verified accounts, making it easier for them to grow their presence and engage with their audience.
Proactive Account Protection: Meta verified also promises to offer proactive account protection, which can help users safeguard their accounts from hacking and unauthorized access.
Account Support: The subscription bundle also includes access to account support, which can be useful for users who need assistance in managing their accounts.
Cost: The biggest criticism of the subscription model is the cost. Users will need to pay a monthly fee of $19.99 on desktop or $24.99 for iOS and Android. This has led to many users questioning the value of the verification badge and whether it is worth the cost.
Exclusivity: The subscription model may make the verification badge exclusive and only available to those who can afford to pay for it. This could potentially create a two-tier system on Facebook and Instagram, where verified accounts have an advantage over non-verified accounts.
Criticisms from Users: The announcement of the subscription model has been met with criticism from some users who have questioned the need for such a model and whether it will lead to further monetization of the platform.
Discrimination: The subscription model may discriminate against certain groups of users who cannot afford the monthly fee, such as low-income individuals, small businesses, and independent creators. This could potentially create a barrier to entry and limit diversity on the platform.
Incentive for Fraud: The subscription model could create an incentive for fraudsters to pay for verification badges in order to appear legitimate and deceive users. This could undermine the integrity of the verification system and make it harder for users to trust verified accounts.
Privacy Concerns: The subscription model requires users to authenticate their account with government ID, which raises privacy concerns for some users who may be hesitant to share such information with Facebook and Instagram. There is also a risk of ID theft and fraud if the verification process is not secure enough.
Monopolization: The subscription model may further consolidate Facebook and Instagram's dominance in the social media market and make it harder for smaller competitors to gain a foothold. This could potentially limit innovation and stifle competition, leading to a less diverse and dynamic social media landscape.
Overall, the subscription model for verifications on Facebook and Instagram has generated mixed reactions from users and raises important questions about the future of social media and online identity. While there are potential benefits to the new feature, there are also significant risks and trade-offs that need to be carefully considered.