Under advertising revenue pressures, Facebook, the social network that was to stay free always launched a paid subscription service.
Mark Zuckerberg therefore announced the launch of Meta Verified, a service starting at $11.99 a month to authenticate one’s account, applicable for both Facebook and Instagram.
This is being rolled out in the US, Australia and New Zealand first before other countries are included.
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 service would be primarily aimed at content creators looking to expand their presence and increase their credibility.
Adding that only users who are over the age of 18 will be allowed to subscribe, with no changes to already verified ‘blue tick’ accounts.
In countries where users cannot afford to pay $12 a month, Netflix’s disparate pricing initiatives for India come to mind, or in cash-based economies is where Meta might encounter some roadblocks in boosting revenue.
Musk’s initial attempts to launch a similar service at Twitter backfired, with an embarrassing surge in fake accounts.
Musk was forced to suspend the service, before relaunching it to mixed reactions.
In 2022, Meta saw its ad revenue decline for the first time since the California-based group went public in 2012.
While Facebook’s daily users hit two billion, advertising budgets went down due to rising inflation and fierce competition from apps such as TikTok meant dwindling revenue streams for the company.
The company has also suffered from regulatory changes introduced by iPhone maker Apple, which restrict the ability of social networks to collect data and sell advertising.
Similar factors have already pushed other networks, from Reddit to Snapchat as well as Twitter, to launch paid plans.
Meta is also under pressure for making a huge gamble on the metaverse, the world of virtual reality that Zuckerberg believes will be the next frontier.