Elon Musk mocks Meta’s paid verification plan wit meme

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Elon Musk poked fun at Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that his flagship social media properties — Facebook and Instagram — will be charging a monthly subscription fee for a verification check similar to that introduced by Twitter.

Musk, who rolled out the Twitter Blue subscription service soon after he completed his $44 billion takeover of the microblogging site, felt vindicated by Meta’s announcement on Sunday.

The Twitter boss said it was “inevitable” that Zuckerberg would follow in his footsteps.

He also posted a laughing-hysterically emoji on his Twitter feed in response to a meme that depicts his rival Zuckerberg as the hapless, bumbling Mr. Bean, the character played by British comedic actor Rowan Atkinson.

In the meme, Mr. Bean, who is meant to represent Zuckerberg, is seen taking an exam. He peers over at a man sitting next to him and copies from him. The other test-taker represents Musk.

Meta Verified will cost $11.99 a month on web and $14.99 a month on iOS. It’s launching in Australia and New Zealand this week ahead of a wider rollout. 

Judging from social media reaction, however, it appears Zuckerberg has some convincing to do before Facebook users fork over money on a monthly basis.

“Introducing Meta Verified, the subscription service that lets you trade your government ID for a blue badge, false sense of security, and direct access to customer support,” one naysayer tweeted.

“Because nothing says authenticity like handing over personal info to a social media giant.”

Another Twitter user wrote: “Meta Verified is just as cringe as Twitter Blue and I would rather disappear into the abyss never to be known again than spend a dime trying to gain traction by paying for faux popularity on social media.”

One commenter suggested that Zuckerberg’s announcement could spell the end of free internet.

Musk tweeted that it was “inevitable” that Zuckerberg would roll out a subscription service for a verification check mark on Facebook and Instagram.POOL/AFP

“I remember the days when Facebook’s homepage said ‘it’s free and always will be’,” remarked one Twitter user.

“Social media is quickly becoming pay to play…It’s no longer an information highway that connects people… it’s starting to become a toll road.”

Zuckerberg on Sunday said the subscription “lets you verify your account with a government ID, get a blue badge, get extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you, and get direct access to customer support.”

The Facebook founder noted that providing direct access to customer support will cost “a significant amount of money,” which will be made up for with subscription revenue. 

Zuckerberg’s announcement Sunday was met with ridicule on social media.AFP

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company is eager to find additional sources of revenue as it and other tech giants such as Google, Amazon and Twitter have reported disappointing earnings during a harsh macroeconomic climate.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Meta gave subpar performance reviews to some 7,000 employees — an ominous sign that the company plans to lay off more workers just weeks after culling roughly 13% of its 87,000-strong global workforce.

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