Facebook and Instagram owner Meta is set to launch a paid subscription service, starting at $11.99 a month, for users to verify their accounts.

“Meta Verified” — rolling out first in Australia and New Zealand — will let users verify their accounts with a government-issued ID, after which they can get a blue badge, extra impersonation protection and direct access to customer support.

This new paid feature, earlier proposed by Twitter owner Elon Musk as well, is said to “increase authenticity and security” across services.

The service is not yet available to businesses and will cover other countries later on. Accordingly, there would be no changes to already-verified accounts on Facebook and Instagram, and only users who are over the age of 18 will be allowed to subscribe.

Meta's announcement comes after its decision in November to lay off 11,000 employees, or 13% of its staff, a trend observed across the tech industry to manage the past year’s mass hiring and current economic gloom.

Meta is also under pressure for making a huge gamble on the metaverse, with Meta investors sending the company's share price down by an astonishing two-thirds in 2022, with the stock recovering some of its ground in 2023.

Meta recently announced that Facebook’s number of daily users hit two billion for the first time.

Big Tech companies are introducing features that require payment for enhanced security and privacy. How it will influence the enormous amount of data generated by users on online platforms could be determined at a later stage.

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