Facebook and Instagram users to pay for key features under controversial plans

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    It seems that the Great Social Media Moneygrab is underway, as Instagram and Facebook are set to join the likes of TikTok and Twitter in offering new paid-for features.

    Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Instagram and Facebook users will be able to pay for 'blue tick' verification from this week.

    'Meta Verified' will work in a similar way to the Twitter Blue system. It will give users a blue badge verifying their identity, provide easier access to customer service, and critically, increase the visibility of their posts.

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    Users in Australia and New Zealand will be the first to gain access to the new system this week, which will cost $11.99 (£9.96) per month for web users.

    In a post on an official Meta channel, Elon Musk said: "This week we're starting to roll out Meta Verified—a subscription service that lets you verify your account with a government ID, get a blue badge, get extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you, and get direct access to customer support.

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

    It's unclear when the feature will be rolled out in the UK, US, or EU.

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    It means Meta will follow in the footsteps of other social media giants which have begun introducing paid features amid a worsening economic downturn.

    Twitter introduced Twitter Blue in November 2022, which gives people a blue tick for a monthly fee of £8.40 per month.

    Meanwhile, TikTok is looking at giving creators the option to provide 'premium' paid-for videos to their viewers, from $1 per month.

    These features are largely being introduced due to falling advertising revenues. Social media giants typically make their money from user data and a marketing algorithm which they sell to advertisers, who then serve up ads to users in return.

    But with advertisers spending less across the board, it looks like social media companies are starting to squeeze their users for money as well as data.


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