It appears that Meta has started rolling out its Meta Verified subscription in Malaysia and this is essentially Facebook and Instagram’s version of Twitter Blue. According to the social media platform’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the verified blue badge promises to offer better protection against impersonation which should help in prevent scams online.
How much is Meta Verified in Malaysia?
As spotted by Amanz and Lowyat.Net, a Meta Verified subscription would cost RM36.99/month on the web or RM41.99/month on iOS. That’s about the same price as a Twitter Blue subscription in Malaysia which starts from RM35/month if you sign up on the web or RM50/month if you sign up on iOS and Android.
Twitter does offer cheaper annual pricing which costs RM369/month on the web or RM519.90 on mobile platforms. On Meta, the payments are renewed on a monthly basis and it will renew automatically unless you cancel at least 24 hours before the next renewal date.
To verify if it’s you, Meta requires a verification process where you’ll need to scan your government-issued MyKad. Similar to Twitter, you’ll receive a blue tick to show that you’re verified but this seems to be available only for Twitter and Threads.
What does Meta Verified offer?
With a Meta Verified subscription, Meta is promising increased account protection with active impersonation account monitoring. On top of that, they are also offering access to account support to address common account issues.
When Meta Verified was announced by Mark Zuckerberg in February this year, he said the paid service is all about increasing authenticity and security across their services. Direct access to customer service seems to be one of the main focus and he said once an account is verified, they can effectively find and remove any imposter accounts since they know which account is real.
Some have criticised the move as profiteering as basic customer service and weeding out scams and imposters should be part of the core product. Mark responded that verifying government IDs and providing access to customer support for million and billions of people costs a significant amount of money. He added that the subscription fees will cover this and they will pace how many people can sign up so that they can ensure quality as they scale up.
Meta has been aiding scams by approving scam ads
It has been well documented that Meta has allowed scams to thrive on its network as it approves Facebook scam ads that impersonate brands and popular public figures. As a company that makes revenue from advertising, they have not done enough due diligence before approving ads which are scams in nature.
Between January to May 2023 this year, Malaysians have lost nearly RM330 million to scams on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. According to Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil, this marks a 25% increase compared to the full year (January to December) of 2022.
Fahmi himself is also a victim of impersonation as his face was used for what appears to be a scam investment ad. Even Bursa Malaysia CEO Datuk Muhamad Umar Swift has been repeatedly impersonated for Facebook scam ads. It seems that both of these public figures would have to pay Meta a monthly fee in order to “stop” these impersonation ads.
Saya menerima tangkap layar ini sebentar tadi. Ini adalah PALSU!— Fahmi Fadzil 🇲🇾 (@fahmi_fadzil) May 5, 2023
Saya tidak pernah mempromosi mana-mana skim pelaburan seperti ini. Saya telah laporkan pada pihak SKMM. pic.twitter.com/zm9tbK1iBZ
Most of these scam ads can be prevented if Meta conducts basic checks on new advertisers and they establish a local moderation team in Malaysia that can take swift action against reported ads. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said last month that it will take legal action against Meta for failing to tackle scam ads, impersonation and inappropriate content.
When asked if Malaysia will draft new laws to hold social media platforms accountable, Fahmi said there are no plans at the moment and the ministry believes in “consistent and proactive engagement” to address the issue.
Would you pay Meta’s subscription knowing that it can’t even do an effective job of preventing scam ads in the first place? Let us know in the comments below.
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