OPTION: The slogan of the Facebook social network launched in 2004 has long been “It’s free and it always will be”
In a typical overstatement of capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg responds to Elon Musk. The boss of Meta (Facebook, Instagram) announced on Sunday the launch of a paid subscription starting at $11.99 per month to authenticate his account on the platforms, while the social networking giant is going through a difficult financial period. The formula, which will first roll out in Australia and New Zealand this week, resembles the one implemented on Twitter, with identity verification services and benefits like “direct access to customer service”.
“The idea is to improve the authenticity (of the profiles and therefore of the exchanges) and the security of our services”, specified Mark Zuckerberg in a message broadcast on his Instagram channel and on his Facebook account. On Facebook and Instagram, followers will have a badge that shows their identity has been verified, as well as protections for their account (including against impersonation), access to customer service, and more visibility. ‘after a spokesperson for Meta.
Content from creators who subscribe to Meta Verified will be distributed more widely and appear at the top of search results and recommendations. The subscription is reserved for individuals and professionals over the age of 18, it is not open to business accounts.
“It’s free and always will be”
The slogan of the social network launched in 2004 has long been “It’s free and it always will be”. Facebook has thus established the dominant model of major online platforms: users benefit from free services that collect personal information about them to target them with personalized advertising.
Acclaimed by advertisers, from big brands to small businesses, Google and Meta have quickly become the dominant players in the sector, earning tens of billions of dollars each year. But in 2022, Meta saw its advertising revenue decline for the first time since the Californian group went public in 2012. Facebook alone reached two billion daily active users on the platform.
But between inflation chipping away at advertisers’ budgets and fierce competition from apps like TikTok, those users aren’t earning as much at Meta as they used to. The company is also suffering a lot from the regulatory changes introduced by its neighbour Apple, which restricts the ability of social networks to collect user data to sell ultra-targeted advertising space. These factors have already prompted other networks, from Reddit to Snapchat, to launch paid plans.