Meta to test verified subscription on Facebook, Instagram. What can users expect? – National

As Meta tests a verified subscription service, Canadian social media experts warn that the move could further fuel misinformation on the company’s platform.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced on February 19 that it is testing a monthly subscription service called Meta Verified.

In a news release, Meta said the goal is to help content creators grow and build communities.

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What is Meta Verified and how does it work?

Meta Verified rolls out in Australia and New Zealand this week. Users can get the blue badge by verifying their account using their government ID and paying a fee of US$11.99/month on the web or US$14.99/month on Apple’s her iOS system. Android.

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Additionally, it claims that its Instagram and Facebook subscription bundles include additional protection against impersonation.

Richard Lachman, an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s RTA School of Media, said, “This extra step for government-issued IDs is something we’re doing to keep people from impersonating each other on their verified accounts. It is.” Metropolitan University.

“That’s a big lesson from Twitter.”

While the company has “certainly learned” from Twitter’s mistake, Meta must “implement appropriate security protocols” when asking users to provide government IDs to prevent any form of data breach. said Ritesh Kotak of Toronto-based cybersecurity and technology. Analyst.

Social media companies must “ensure that data is encrypted when transferred to Meta and that the information provided is used only for verification purposes,” he said.

“Once verification is complete,[they]need to ensure that all copies are deleted and not available on the system,” Kotak added.

These steps, he said, should be the “minimum” Meta does to protect user information.

But Lachman said users need to be more critical when they come across information from accounts on Facebook or Instagram that have paid for verification.

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“The biggest impact for us regular users is, ‘Is this a credible post? Is this information I can trust?'” Lachman said. “We know there has been misinformation on social media platforms for a long time.”

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Meta said the new service will be rolling out in more countries “soon”, though it’s unclear when the service will launch in Canada.

According to the company, to use Meta Verified on both Instagram and Facebook, users will need to subscribe to each app individually.

The subscription service announcement comes after Twitter announced last month that it would become Twitter Blue. price $11/month.

Earlier, Twitter launched a service that gave a blue-checked “verified” label to anyone willing to pay $8 a month, but it was also responsible for spoofing accounts, including one that caused the stock price of a major company to plummet. The tool was removed shortly after seeing the increase. .

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Companies are not eligible to apply for Meta Verified at this time.

Other social media apps such as Snap Inc’s Snapchat and messaging app Telegram launched paid subscription services last year as a new revenue stream.

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Experts fear ‘social media hierarchy’

Kotak said it should first include additional protection against impersonation and direct account support that comes with Meta Verified for free.

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“I think these platforms have an obligation to protect user information,” said Kotak. “It’s a problem in and of itself to claim that someone has extra protection from this kind of problem.”

However, Kotak added that other features that increase visibility into accounts using the service make sense for content creators to purchase.

Amy Morrison, an associate professor of English at the University of Waterloo, told Global News she worries that paid authentication services will create a hierarchy on social media platforms.

Morrison said the “personal element” of social media, including the social media’s inherent appeal of facilitating interaction with friends and family, is disappearing as companies try to launch more subscription services. He said he was worried about what was going on.

“For people, the original value proposition of most social media was that it was a place where anyone who wanted to connect could connect,” says Morrison. “It was a non-hierarchical space where your relationship was based on mutual friendship.”

— Using files from Reuters

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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