Meta Verified shows a company that has run out of ideas

Meta’s new subscription service looks pretty familiar. For between $11.99 and $14.99 per month, Instagram and Facebook users get a blue “verified” mark, access to better security features, and more visibility in search results. Their comments are also given priority.

The package has strong echoes of Twitter’s Blue subscription service, launched under new owner Elon Musk, who has been aggressively trying to find ways to monetize his platform — most recently telling users not to use text-based two-factor authentication, unless they subscribe.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Meta Verified in a post on his Instagram channel on Feb. 19, saying the service, which will roll out first in Australia and New Zealand, “is about increasing the authenticity and security of our services.”

Analysts say that while the move isn’t entirely out of Meta’s character, it signals a lack of innovation at the social media giant, which has laid off more than 11,000 employees since late last year and spent billions on its push toward the metaverse, a technology without a clear business model.

“Meta has always had copying in their DNA — Instagram’s Reels is just one of a long list of prominent examples — so it’s no surprise that, with Twitter getting away with offering basic functionality as a premium service, Zuckerberg is trying to do the same.” says Tama Leaver, professor of Internet studies at Curtin University in Australia.”Meta’s attempt to copy Twitter’s subscription model shows a clear lack of new ideas…Meta has laid off staff and is bleeding money to build a metaverse where no one at this seems so interested at the moment.”

While Meta has emphasized the security aspects of its subscription product, the fact that subscribers are gaining more visibility on the company’s platforms represents a significant change for users.

Twitter’s attempts to charge users for features, including increased promotion through its algorithms, have been met with widespread criticism and many have threatened to leave the platform, though there is no reliable data on how many people have followed.

However, Snapchat and Discord have also both introduced paid subscription tiers to users without a similar level of outrage, suggesting Twitter Blue’s distaste could be tied to Musk himself and wider concerns about the platform.

“Meta has seen Snapchat, Discord, and Twitter launch their own subscriptions, which provide power users with additional features or benefits,” said social media analyst Matt Navarra, who was first to share the news of the Meta change. The idea of ​​paying for features that used to be free is starting to become normalized, he says. “The risk there is smaller for them whether it will be a success.”

Anyway, Navarra admits he won’t buy verified status from Meta. “I don’t think it’s worth it,” he says.

How much money Meta can collect via verification is unclear. Twitter has been struggling to sell subscriptions to its Blue service, with The Information reporting that the platform has less than 300,000 subscribers worldwide— which would make less than 1 percent of the $3 billion Musk wants the company to make. The Meta family of apps, which includes Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp, has nearly 10 times as many monthly users as Twitter.

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