Many of you might remember the old Facebook meme circulated in the beginning years of the platform that warned users that the service would begin charging a subscription fee.
And, for years, it looked like this was nothing more than a scaremongering tactic meant to warn users off of what was ostensibly a “free” service.
Of course, you know what they say about anything that is “free”: “If the product is free, then you are the product.”
When it comes to social media, and particularly social media user data, that’s probably a true statement. Now, we get the added bonus of paying for it so it looks like everything came around in the end.
To be fair, Facebook isn’t the first one to come up with this idea. You can chalk that up to Elon Musk’s Twitter which came right out of the gate with a monetization plan for that platform’s vaunted “blue checkmark.” Previously used to show that a user was verified, or was the actual person they claim to be, the blue check mark is now a part of Twitter’s subscription service in a move that has undoubtedly made the company some money, but has also diluted the meaning behind that symbol somewhat.
In an Instagram post to his own account today, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Instagram would be rolling out its own subscription service in certain areas of the world starting now, PetaPixel reports.
How much is this verification service going to cost? It will start at $15 per month for iOS and Android users or $12 per month if users subscribe to the service using a web browser. PetaPixel points out that this $12 option is currently only available to Facebook users and highlights the generallAndroidy poor experience of Instagram through a web browser as the reasoning behind this. The verification service is available in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Users in other regions can sign up for a waitlist to be notified when the verification service is live in their territory.
There are some interesting caveats to keep in mind, too. For one, the service will only allow verification of user names matching a person’s real name. Once this is accomplished, the user can change the username and other information on the account without going through the process again. A huge benefit of subscribing is that apparently, accounts receive more robust impersonation protection, among other things.
Of course, any thoughts that you might have on social media subscription services are welcome in the comments below.
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