Facebook, the social network that was supposed to stay free ‘always’, and its stablemate Instagram launched on Sunday a paid subscription service, as the advertising-based business model that has long dominated the internet falters. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook-parent Meta, announced on Sunday the launch of Meta Verified, a service starting at $11.99 (roughly Rs. 990) a month to authenticate one’s account, which follows a similar move by Elon Musk at Twitter.
‘This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services’, Zuckerberg wrote in a statement posted to Facebook and Instagram. Meta Verified will be rolled out in Australia and New Zealand this week before coming to markets in the United States and other countries. Subscribers will get a badge indicating their account has been verified with a government ID, extra protection against impersonation, direct access to customer support and more visibility, according to the company.
The social media giant said the service would be primarily aimed at content creators looking to expand their presence on the platforms and could see adjustments after a test phase. There would be no changes to accounts on Facebook and Instagram that are already verified, the company said, adding that only users who are over the age of 18 will be allowed to subscribe. The service is not yet available to businesses.
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 launch a similar service at rival social media network Twitter last year backfired, with an embarrassing spate of fake accounts that scared advertisers and cast doubt on the site’s future.
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