Instagram and Facebook introduce Payment for Verification
Instagram and Facebook users will now be able to pay for verification with a blue check, announced parent company Meta.
Meta Verified will cost $11.99 (BGN 9.96) per month on the web or $14.99 for iPhone users.
It will be available in Australia and New Zealand this week.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, said the move will improve the security and authenticity of social media apps.
The move comes after Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, introduced the Twitter Blue premium subscription in November 2022.
Meta's paid subscription service is not yet available for businesses, but any individual can pay to get the check.
Badges - or "blue checks" - are used as verification tools for high-level accounts to indicate their authenticity.
The subscription will give paying users a blue badge, greater visibility of their posts, protection from impersonators and easier access to customer service, Meta said in a post on its website.
The company told the BBC that the change would not affect previously verified accounts, but noted that there would be an increase in visibility for some smaller users who become verified thanks to the paid feature.
Giving paid users access to the blue checks has previously caused problems on other social media platforms.
Meta said Instagram and Facebook usernames will have to match a government-issued ID to provide verification, and users will have to have a profile picture that includes their face.
Other websites such as Reddit, YouTube, and Discord similarly use subscription-based models.
Meta has not yet specified when the feature will roll out to other countries, although Mr. Zuckerberg said in the post that it would be "soon".
In November, the company announced 11,000 job cuts as a result of overinvestment during the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the time, Mr. Zuckerberg said he predicted an increase in Meta's growth based on the growth it had during the pandemic, but that ultimately did not happen.
"Many people predicted that this would be a permanent acceleration," he wrote, "so did I, so I decided to significantly increase our investment."
Instead, he said a "macroeconomic downturn" and "intensified competition" meant that revenue was much lower than expected.
"I made a mistake and I take responsibility for it," he said at the time.
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