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Facebook wants you to pay to prove you are real

by on20 February 2023

Following Musk might backfire

Social notworking sites Facebook and Instagram are copying the supreme twit Elon [look at me] Musk’s idea of making users pay cash to prove they are real. Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s chief executive, announced in a Facebook post on Sunday that the “service” would first roll out in Australia and New Zealand later this week.

The company said it would cost US$11.99 a month on web or US$14.99 on iOS and Android (or, in Australia, $19.99 on web or $24.99 on iOS and Android). 

Zuckerberg said in addition to a blue badge the service would offer “extra impersonation protection”, improved reach for verified users and direct access to customer support.

In a blog post, Meta said it would insist on government ID documents to prove the identity of verified accounts to avoid the embarrassment of accounts impersonating people and brands.

Accounts must also have a posting history and users must be at least 18 years old.

About the only thing on offer is the promise of increased visibility of posts “depending on a subscriber’s existing audience size and the topic of their posts”, the company said. Those with smaller audiences might see more of an impact.

Twitter’s CEO, Elon Musk, responded to the news in a tweet saying it was “inevitable” Meta would follow Twitter. While he probably meant that he was such a business genius that others must copy him, it is more likely that if one big company breaks ranks and charges for a service, its rivals can feel safe that they have nothing to lose by following suit.

Twitter announced on Friday it would provide SMS-based two-factor authentication only to users who are subscribed to the US$8-a-month ($11.65) Twitter Blue service from 20 March.

The company currently provides free two-factor authentication through third-party apps and a security key, which are considered more secure than SMS-based systems. If non-subscriber accounts that use SMS authentication do not switch before the deadline, Twitter said it would disable two-factor authentication for that account.


Last modified on 20 February 2023
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