Meta Platforms plans to test program starting at $11.99 a month in Australia and New Zealand
Meta Platforms Inc. META 0.26%increase; green up pointing triangle is launching a paid subscription service that enables users to verify their accounts with government identification and receive direct access to customer support.
The aim of Meta Verified is to increase security and authenticity across the company’s services, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said Sunday in social-media posts. It is also meant to “help up-and-coming creators grow their presence and build community faster,” according to a Meta spokesperson.
The service will cost $11.99 a month for Facebook and Instagram accounts that sign up from a web browser, or $14.99 a month for subscriptions through devices running Android and Apple Inc.’s iOS system, according to Meta. Tests of the service will begin in Australia and New Zealand this week.
In the coming months, the company expects it to roll out in the U.S. and eventually other markets, according to the spokesperson.
Meta’s move with the subscription service reflects several issues the company is facing. It has long grappled with inauthentic accounts and complaints from users about them. A range of users have also raised concerns about unsuccessful efforts to reach customer service when facing issues such as getting hacked or being locked out of their accounts.
It is also heavily reliant on advertising for its business. Moving deeper into subscriptions, depending on how many users jump in, could boost the company’s revenue. Meta said in the month of December it averaged two billion daily active users on Facebook and nearly three billion users across its platforms including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.
Tech giants have been seeking new revenue streams as economic uncertainty has weighed on their finances and prompted several of them to announce job cuts.
Meta earlier this month said weak advertising demand due to the uncertain macroeconomic landscape contributed to a decline in revenue during the fourth quarter. Mr. Zuckerberg at the time said the company is focused on becoming more efficient.
Twitter Inc. in December updated its paid subscription service, offering users access to features including the ability to edit tweets, upgraded video uploads and the company’s famed blue check mark after their account is reviewed for verification purposes. The cost of the Twitter Blue service, part of an effort by owner Elon Musk to reduce the platform’s reliance on advertising dollars, is $11 a month through iOS and $8 for those who sign up from a web browser.
Snap Inc. last year also launched a paid subscription plan called Snapchat+ that provides access to what the company described as exclusive features for $3.99 a month. The social-media company said that the features would evolve over time.
Meta for years has offered verification for some accounts. In 2018, Meta started to verify the identity of people managing Pages with large audiences, and in 2020 said it would extend ID verification to some profiles with large audiences in the U.S.
Currently, nothing is changing for accounts that already have a verified badge, those that feature a blue check mark next to the name, according to the spokesperson.
Meta already allows creators to charge a monthly fee for some of their content. The service rolled out to all eligible creators in the U.S. in November, according to the spokesperson. The company is testing the service in the U.K., Australia and Canada.
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