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Elon Musk appears to have started a trend when it comes to mandating users’ rights to have a “fancy” little blue tick next to their name on Twitter. The CEO decided he had to find every possible way to make the social platform profitable, including the seemingly simplest feature. As ridiculous as it seemed, Mark Zuckerberg seems to agree with the idea, while Meta prepares to do the same for Facebook and Instagram.

At the moment the feature is in the testing phase and there is no final decision on what to do with accounts that already have a verified status. But you can probably expect that status to go away if you don’t pay once the new “Meta Verify” program becomes available to everyone in the near future.

Instead of verification status being free (as it should be), the company charges users $11.99/month via web or $14.99/month via to have the privilege of getting the blue tick on their profiles to wear, which shows that you have it been verified. Users would need to present a government-issued ID to get verified, and there are some additional “perks” like identity theft protection and access to tech support.

According to Meta, the new paywall will help “more people have confidence that the accounts they interact with are authentic.” That, and for the company to have another way of making those sweet, sweet dollar bills, ya’ll. Because in the end it’s all about the money. This allows the company to get paid to provide protection services (grew up in New York, sounds familiar) versus implementing proper anti-spam/bot and fake account systems to provide a valuable and secure online social platform/product to create for everyone.

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Luckily, most users don’t care if they get the tick on their profile. This is mainly aimed at professionals, celebrities, influencers and companies. People who are most at risk of being impersonated online. Perfect profiles to get blackmailed in… I mean these protection services are marketed. With other social platforms, all you have to do is report these profiles and prove yours is real by simply liking them via the API or special files uploaded to your website. A service almost always free.

To be fair, companies like Meta have felt the as user privacy continues to become a popular issue, leading to pressure from government regulators and device manufacturers (e.g. Apple, Samsung) trying to further protect their users protect against disclosure of data. This leads to a reduction in the potential profit from ads and the sharing of user data with other companies. So, platforms like Facebook and Instagram are forced to look for new methods to generate profits.

What do you think of Meta moving towards a paid verification system and away from the standard free approaches? Do you think this system is a more secure approach to account verification? Do you think it’s worth paying monthly or yearly for something that takes a few moments to verify and move on? Am I reacting to everything about it with my personal opinion on the topic? Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments below.

By Rebecca French

Rebecca French writes books about Technology and smartwatches. Her books have received starred reviews in Technology Shout, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. She is a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller...