Nice Instagram profile you got there! Would be a SHAME if something were to happen to it! That’s Meta’s latest play as it parks alongside the Muskmobile in Desperation Central. Meta Verified will soon be unleashed, allowing you to verify your Facebook and Instagram accounts for $14.99 per month in-app – or $11.99 on the website.
Facebook/Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg reckons Meta Verified is about “increasing authenticity and security across our services”. Presumably, he didn’t speak to the Meta blog folks, who instead said it was about making it “easier for people, especially creators, to establish a presence”.
Note that at the time of writing, Meta Verified is for individual narcissists only. It requires “minimum account activity”, the account owner to be 18+, and for government ID to be sent to Meta to verify the account owner is who they say they are. In return, the account owner gets a blue badge of joy and some other perks we’ll get on to later.
Also, it’s a big bag of stupid. Here’s why:
Paid verification is unsustainable – and wrong
When Meta fires up its Income-Ideas-O-Tron, it has the wider market in mind. The end game isn’t creators – it’s anyone who spends time asking: When will I be famous? But there are problems with that.
People can’t be expected to pay for verification across every account they run. That’s unsustainable. And confirmation of ID should not be a perk – it should be a default option on any social platform.
Meta Verified demands value-creators pay
YouTube rewards creators by giving them a cut of income. Social media platforms are instead evil-grin types that demand people work “for the exposure”, as if that pays the bills. Creators simultaneously add value to Meta platforms while being the product – and are now being asked to pay as well.
But you don’t “help up-and-coming creators grow their presence and build [their] community faster” by demanding money. Meta’s argument that such folks have long asked for better access to account support is true. They just weren’t expecting to pay $15 per month for the privilege!
Meta’s reputation with privacy and support is… rocky
Facebook’s track record in privacy isn’t stellar, in the sense that it tends towards ‘flagrant disregard for’. The prospect of lobbing a government ID the company’s way won’t fill people with joy. It’s hard to think of a Big Tech company you’d trust less with your documents. Well, maybe bar Twitter.
The support angle is similarly laughable. Meta claims verification will bring with it continuous monitoring, swift action regarding impersonators, and direct access to customer support. Anyone who’s dealt with Facebook regarding account issues will take that with a truck full of salt. And “we will respond to account impersonation and deal with nefarious types IF YOU PAY” isn’t the great look Meta thinks it is.
Meta Verified benefits suck
Beyond ‘better’ support, what else will Meta Verified give you, in return for cash? Increased visibility and reach! (So your posts will be hurled into a ravine if you don’t pay? That’s more ‘blackmail’ than ‘feature’.) And there’s as-yet-unknown exclusive features to “help you express yourself in unique ways” – perhaps a looping GIF of you endlessly screaming.
Yet there’s no mention of value-adds people would pay for, such as a reverse-chronological feed and fewer adverts. Still, we’re sure badge-grabbers will be excited by extra exposure when the inevitable backlash from people angry at them paying for verification occurs.
It highlights industry desperation
The market demands endless growth. Simultaneously, Facebook is freaking out about tanking ad revenue due to economic issues, Apple allowing users to block tracking ads, and regulators waking up to privacy concerns.
Is this the end of ‘free’ social media at scale? It at least feels like companies are scrabbling to find last-gasp drops of cash to squeeze from users before their social networks implode in a puff of irrelevance.
Give it a few months and Meta will demand you pay a fiver on the hour, every hour, to stop your account being hurled into a digital abyss while infinite fakes auto-generate and post that you “are a big stupid head”, until the end of time.