Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has announced that it will begin charging users for account verification on both Instagram and Facebook. The new feature, called “Meta Verified,” will be available in the coming weeks and will cost users $12 per year.
The move is intended to help users identify authentic accounts on the platforms and combat the rise of fake accounts and misinformation. Meta says the paid verification will involve a manual review of each user’s account and a check of government-issued identification documents.
According to reports, the verification process will not be required for all users, and those who choose to verify their accounts will receive a blue checkmark next to their profile names. The blue checkmark has traditionally been used to denote accounts that are owned by public figures, celebrities, or brands.
Some users have expressed concern that the new feature could create a two-tiered system on the platforms, with verified accounts receiving preferential treatment over unverified accounts. Others have criticized the move as yet another example of big tech companies monetizing basic features that were once free.
Meta has not said whether it plans to introduce Meta Verified on other platforms it owns, such as WhatsApp and Oculus.
This move comes as Meta has faced increased scrutiny over its handling of user data and content moderation. The company has been criticized for its role in spreading misinformation, hate speech, and political polarization and has faced numerous legal challenges from regulators and lawmakers around the world.
It remains to be seen how users will respond to the new paid verification feature and whether it will have any impact on the ongoing debate over the role of social media platforms in society. Nonetheless, the move is another indication of the power that big tech companies wield over online communication and the monetization of what were once considered basic features.
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