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Facebook, Instagram users to start paying monthly subscription for verification badge

Facebook and Instagram users will start paying $11.99 as a monthly subscription for a blue tick verification.

Meta chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, announced this on Sunday, adding that the blue tick verification will cost $11.99 (£9.96) a month on the web, or $14.99 for iPhone users, and will be available in Australia and New Zealand this week.

Zuckerberg justified that the move will improve security and authenticity on the social media apps.

Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, implemented a paid-for verification system in November 2022.

Although Meta’s paid subscription service is not yet available for businesses, anyone can pay for verification.

Badges, also known as “blue ticks,” have been used as authentication tools for high-profile accounts.

Meta explained that the subscription would provide paying users with a blue badge, increased visibility of their posts, protection from impersonators, and easier access to customer service.

According to the BBC, the change will not affect previously verified accounts, but it will increase visibility for some smaller users who become verified as a result of the paid feature.

Allowing paying users access to a blue tick has caused problems for other social media platforms in the past.

For instance, Twitter’s pay-for verification feature was paused last November when people started impersonating big brands and celebrities by paying for the badge.

According to Meta, in order to be verified, Instagram and Facebook usernames must match a government-issued ID document, and users must have a profile picture that includes their face.

Reddit, YouTube, and Discord all use subscription-based models.

Meta has not yet specified when the feature will be rolled out to other countries, although Zuckerberg said in a post it would be “soon”.

In November, the company announced 11,000 job losses as a result of over-investment during the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the time, Zuckerberg said he had predicted an increase in Meta’s growth based on the rise it had over the pandemic, but that ultimately did not happen.

“Many people predicted this would be a permanent acceleration,” he wrote, “I did too, so I made the decision to significantly increase our investments.”

Instead, he said “macroeconomic downturn” and “increased competition” caused revenue to be much lower than expected.

“I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that,” he said at the time.

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