A better quality of digital life is now coming at a higher price. The world’s biggest social platforms are experimenting with charging people for everything from improved account security and support to the promise of wider public exposure.
Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta announced this week it would launch a paid-for subscription service. This has already been widely criticized.
While both companies are in many ways targeting their most prolific users for new revenue, internet watchdogs have long viewed authentication and identity protection features as basic responsibilities of online platforms, not premiums or frills.
The entire internet experience has become more expensive in recent years alongside heightened levels of inflation for energy and other goods and services.
Experts warn that paying for protection will create a digital caste system of haves and have-nots. They have condemned that social media platforms are making safety and security features something that’s for sale.
Experts have warned that social media platforms are pushing the onus onto the user to be safe online rather than take responsibility for it themselves.
In the new trial paid verification service for Instagram and Facebook, users will pay to receive a verification badge, “proactive account monitoring for impersonators,” and “access to a real person” for account issues.
It comes at the price tag of $11.99 or $14.99 monthly, pending on what type of phone you have.
The move follows Twitter’s announcement on Friday that two-factor authentication via text message would only be offered to paying Twitter Blue customers after March 20. And it follows Twitter Blue, which relaunched after chaos, where customers can pay monthly for the blue checkmark and a couple of other benefits.
Financial analysts said the new models being tested by social media companies would not come close to generating the tens of billions that the likes of Meta make from advertising.
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