Meta launches subscription service for Instagram and Facebook

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced that Meta will launch a paid subscription to Meta, which allows users of Instagram and Facebook to verify their accounts at a cost of up to $14.99 per month.

According to a Facebook post, Zuckerberg, the new feature is called Meta Verified. It allows users to “get a blue button, get additional impersonation protection from accounts claiming you are them, and have direct access to customer service.”

It will cost $11.99 per month for web access and $14.99 per month on Apple’s iOS OS system and Android. The post stated that Meta Verified will begin in Australia and New Zealand later this week.

Meta revenue has been hit hard by privacy changes by Apple in 2021, which restricted its ability track internet activity of users. This is a crucial data source that can be used to target ads. Meta stated last February that Apple’s privacy changes would result in more than $10bn in lost advertising revenue for 2022. This is around 8 percent of its total revenue for 2021.

Skyflow founder Anshu Sharma said that the subscription model was the latest sign that the “devil’s bargain” of social media users exchanging their data privacy for free apps was over.

Meta was forced to make major cost-cutting decisions, including announcing its largest headcount cuts — approximately 11,000 people or 13% of employees.

Meta’s subscription service is very similar to Elon Musk’s TwitterBlue plan. This would allow users to verify their Twitter accounts for $8 per month. He bought the platform for $44bn in 2013. After it was misused by accounts pretending to be celebrities and companies, Twitter Blue was delayed.

Zuckerberg stated that Meta Verified would enable users to verify their accounts using a government ID. An insider from the company confirmed that an ID issued by the government would be needed to authenticate an account. Subscriptions would also include monitoring for accounts being impersonated.

They also stated that Meta Verified users would have access to additional features “to increase visibility, reach”, such as prominence when searching for recommendations.

Snap, a messaging company, launched Snapchat Plus in late 2013 for $3.99 per month. This gives users exclusive access and new features such as longer story expiration times and custom notification sounds.

Zuckerberg presented plans to reduce Meta’s expenses during Meta’s annual earnings presentation this month. He said it would be a “year of efficiency” for the social network group that owns Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook.

The economic slowdown, which prompted marketers to reduce their spending on its apps, and increased challenges from TikTok as well as the effect of the Apple privacy changes that have had on ad revenue, have weighed on the share price.

Its share price has risen more than a quarter of a month this month after it announced better-than-expected sales results and a new $40bn share purchase back.

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