Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta Platform announced that the company will begin testing paid verification called “Meta Verified”, just months after the Twitter Pay Per Blue Tick announcement.
As paid verification becomes a buzzword, News18 spoke to tech experts to understand whether this would be the new normal for all social media firms.
Meta stated that the Meta Verified feature is an Instagram and Facebook subscription bundle that includes a verified badge to authenticate a user’s account with a government ID, proactive account protection, account support, and increased visibility and reach.
The feature will be available in Australia and New Zealand this week for $11.99 per month on the web and $14.99 per month on mobile and will arrive in more countries “soon”.
This appears to be similar to Elon Musk’s $8 per month version (Rs 650 for India) of Twitter Blue. But Meta stated that it will not affect accounts that have been verified using the company’s previous requirements, such as notability and authenticity.
Users who sign up for Meta Verified will also receive exclusive stickers for stories and reels, as well as 100 free stars per month, or the digital currency that can be used to tip Facebook creators. But businesses aren’t currently eligible to apply for this service.
Additionally, Meta said: “At this time, Meta Verified will only support your real name on your profile. Once your profile is verified, you can’t change the profile name, username, date of birth, or photo on your profile without going through the Meta Verified subscription and verifications application process again.”
A New Trend
Jitendra Soni, a tech expert, told News18 that paying for social media profile verification has become a mainstream trend because of Musk. He highlighted that while social media firms are trying to encash the charm of getting a blue tick, “making it readily available for anyone can be dangerous”.
“For a country like India, at least where social media is used as a vehicle for fake news peddling, a verified profile could act as a seal of authority and may have catastrophic effects,” he added.
Niraj Bora, founder of Surmount Business Advisors Pvt Ltd, believes that blue ticks should work for public figures, celebrities and brands to get a premium experience and authenticity of their handles, while the basic features should be available in any way irrespective of paid subscription, like LinkedIn.
“But I don’t think the ratio of paid accounts would be high at all. Most of the Indian users aren’t monetising their handles and for them to pay would be difficult,” he noted.
Furthermore, the tech expert doesn’t think that the social media verification model will become the new normal because the subscription revenues would be minuscule compared to the ad revenues they make.
However, Sandeep Gonsalves, co-founder and director of a company called Sarah and Sandeep, believes that Indians wouldn’t mind investing in building their credibility.
Meanwhile, Delphin Varghese, co-founder & Chief Business Officer of Adcounty Media, explained that Facebook recently announced that it had hit a two billion user mark, but between the inflation cutting down the advertiser’s budget and fierce competition from apps like TikTok and Snapchat, the company is facing a down surge in revenue.
“The company has also recently suffered the regulatory changes made by Apple that have restricted its ability to collect data and sell advertisements across social networks. Now the question stands will Indian users follow this new trend, and are paid subscriptions the new normal for social media companies in the future? All this is yet to be seen,” he noted.
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