Instagram and Facebook to roll out paid subscription service in Australia this week


Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, is launching a paid subscription service that will give out verification badges to paying customers, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on social media on Sunday, following the launch of a similar program at Twitter spearheaded by new owner Elon Musk.
Meta is following Twitter’s lead and rolling out a paid verification service. Image: Getty
Key Takeaways
  • Meta Verified will rollout in Australia and New Zealand this week.
  • The subscription service will give out verification badges to paying customers.
  • It will cost Australian users $19.99 per month.
  • CEO Mark Zuckerberg says it offers extra protection against impersonation.

In an Instagram story and on Facebook, Zuckerberg wrote the company will roll out Meta Verified in Australia and New Zealand this week, and “more countries soon.”

The verification badge subscription will cost $19.99 on web and $24.99 on iOS and Android.

Meta Verified allows users to verify their accounts “with a government ID” and earn a blue badge, which the company currently gives out to well-known individuals for free, and the subscription service will give them extra protection against impersonation accounts and direct access to customer support, Zuckerberg said.

“This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services.”

Mark Zuckerberg

Twitter attempted the same last year despite major backlash against the concept. The feature costs US$11.99 for the web and US$14.99 a month for iOS and Android.

Subscribers get a verified check mark and other benefits, like longer tweets. Musk has said those who were previously verified on the social media platform will lose their verification status in the coming months, unless they subscribe to Twitter Blue.

The program hasn’t been a strong revenue builder for Twitter: Two months after launching, it has just 180,000 U.S. subscribers, the Information reported earlier this month. It’s believed the feature has roughly 290,000 subscribers worldwide.

The service has also caused headaches for Twitter staff, as its initial rollout last year led to a wave of impersonator accounts.

The List

Meta suffered a difficult 2022. The company reported declines in revenue amid a drop in overall ad spending, and its pivot to augmented reality “metaverse” technology has proven expensive. It’s also faced steep competition from ByteDance-owned TikTok. In November, it laid off roughly 11,000 staff and instituted a hiring freeze.

$62.1 billion. That’s how much Forbes estimates Zuckerberg is worth. Musk is worth an estimated $198.2 billion and is the second-richest person in the world.

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