Facebook, the social network that was supposed to be forever free, announced a premium subscription service as the advertising-based business model that has long dominated the internet.
On Sunday, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook parent Meta, announced the introduction of Meta Verified, a service to authenticate one’s account starting at US$11.99 a month, which follows a similar move by Elon Musk on Twitter.
“This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services,” Zuckerberg wrote in a statement posted to Facebook and Instagram.
This week, Meta Verified will be launched in Australia and New Zealand before expanding to markets in the United States and other nations.
According to the company, subscribers will receive a badge indicating that their account has been verified with a government ID, additional protection against impersonation, direct access to customer service, and increased visibility.
According to the social media giant, the service would be primarily geared at content creators aiming to extend their visibility on the platforms.
The company claimed there would be no changes to verified profiles on Facebook and Instagram and that only individuals over 18 could subscribe. The service is currently unavailable for businesses.
Because of commissions taken by Apple on the iPhone and Google on cellphones running its Android system, Meta Verified will be cheaper on the web than on mobile applications.
According to Zuckerberg, it will cost US$11.99 monthly on the web and US$14.99 monthly on iOS or Android.
The company stated that it does not expect the service to generate considerable money during the testing phase but that it is part of its diversification initiatives.