In case you haven’t heard, Meta announced on Sunday that they are going to begin testing Meta Verified—a subscription bundle that includes account verification with impersonation protections and access to increased visibility and support. The cost will be $11.99/month on the web and $14.99/month on Andriod and iOS.
It’s important to know that this is very new and only being tested in Australia and New Zealand at the moment. But here are some of my initial thoughts. Spoiler—I’m not a fan.
It’s All About The Benjamins
Whether it’s a murder mystery or a new product release, the first step is always to follow the money, right? Let’s break it down. ⤵️
Currently, Meta makes its money off of ad revenue. Their goal is to keep people on their apps as long as possible. The longer we’re on the app, the more ads we see, the more money Meta makes.
Let’s Crunch The Numbers
If Meta wanted to make up for an annual loss of $10 billion dollars, they would need to get roughly 3.5% of Instagram users to sign up for a year of Meta verified. That is using the $11.99/month cost to be conservative.
$11.99 x 12 months = $143.88
$10,000,000,000 / $143.88 = 69,502,363 annual subscriptions
69,502,363 / 2,000,000,000 (current active users) = 3.47%
We’re All Unpaid Employees
Think about it…since the goal is to keep people on the app longer, anyone who posts content on Instagram or Facebook basically works for Meta for free. Our content is what brings people to the apps and keeps them there (if our content is good).
Instead of offering things like customer support and protection from people stealing your identity and impersonating you, they want to make us pay for those services.
That’s like your employer making you pay to use the bathroom at work.
It Reeks of Desperation
I can see the thinking behind verification including extra customer support and protection from impersonation. But why include the benefit of “increased visibility and reach with prominence in some areas of the platform– like search, comments and recommendations”?
My thinking? Meta Verified covers the things most people are desperate for on Instagram and Facebook—including Meta themselves.
- Meta is desperate for more revenue.
- Growing and larger accounts are desperate for impersonation protection
- Smaller accounts are desperate for more reach
- Everyone wants customer support
It’s like they sat around a table like the student council planning the winter formal and everyone kept throwing out ideas and they included all of them.
They have designed Meta Verified to have something for everyone which increases their chance of hitting that 3.5% sign up (and then some).
How Are They Going To Do It?
My question is what’s happening behind the scenes to make this concept a reality?
Who are these “real people” that are going to be handling customer support? I checked today and I don’t see any customer support job postings. The latest buzz is actually more layoffs are coming in March.
Who is going to manage impersonation protection and account verification? Are they developing new technology? Or have they had this capability already and jus not offered it to their users?
These new features are going to require both new technology and new human resources. Is this really just a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development of these tools and departments?
Pay To Play Is Not An Even Playing Field
Looking at who qualifies, there are major limitations on who can actually access these features. For example, businesses are not eligible to apply for Meta Verified at this time. And at this time, Meta Verified will only support your real name on your profile. Once your profile is verified, you can’t change the profile name, username, date of birth, or photo on your profile without going through the Meta Verified subscription and verifications application process again.
What are your thoughts? Are you going to subscribe? I’m so curious to hear your thoughts.