It seems that Elon Musk’s rather questionable decisions over at Twitter are having repercussions beyond the app’s borders. In the wake of Musk culling around 70% of all Twitter staff, more companies are reportedly considering doing the same, with Meta now apparently also considering charging for its own verification checkmarks.
A Sales Exploration
It would seem that the Twitter Blue approach to making people pay for verification, which hasn’t proven as popular on Twitter as they would’ve wanted, is now something to consider at Meta, too. Based on new findings by reverse engineering extraordinaire Alessandro Paluzzi, there’s a new mention in the codebases of both Facebook and Instagram of a ‘paid blue badge’. Paluzzi also shared this screencap with TechCrunch.
In a way, the few strings of code do seem to refer to some sort of subscription option for both apps, which could give you a blue verification badge as a result. Meta has neither confirmed nor denied the project, but at the very least, it does seem that it’s considering offering checkmarks as a paid option. Considering the original purpose of account verification, re-introducing the process as an off-shoot so they can rake in a few extra bucks is a bit distasteful.
What’s the value in something that can be bought so long as you have the resources for it, right? Although verification might lose its intrinsic value as a result of this shift, it does offer relatively notable revenue gains, with Twitter bringing in an extra $7 million per quarter from Twitter Blue Subscriptions. Maybe Meta’s looking to implement something similar to make up for the lost ad dollars and further help fund the costs of its ongoing Metaverse development.
It seems counter-intuitive, but perhaps that matters less if it means that platforms make more money. It’s a scummy setup and cycle, but that’s just how systemically bad some things have gotten. Hey, the more money, the better, right? In the past, Meta said that it won’t charge a subscription fee for access to its apps, so while this means that we’re less likely to encounter any immediate paywalls to our favored Facebook and Instagram features, this new option would remain a supplemental element, allowing users to buy a blue tick if they wanted.
This was a time when verification signified distinct accounts, such as those belonging to recognized public figures like celebrities and politicians. Before, you couldn’t just buy a checkmark, you had to meet strict requirements if you wanted to truly differentiate yourself from the average user. While it seems wrong that people can just buy exclusivity nowadays, tough times and rising costs tend to push companies to the edge. On that note, this odd shift becomes slightly more understandable. Had this occurred during more stable financial times, then that would’ve been a more pressing concern.