Instagram and Facebook users will now be able to pay for a blue tick verification, parent company Meta has announced.
Meta Verified will cost $11.99 (£9.96) a month on web, or $14.99 for iPhone users.
It will be available in Australia and New Zealand this week.
Mark Zuckerberg, Meta chief executive, said the move will improve security and authenticity on the social media apps.
The move comes after Elon Musk, owner of Twitter, implemented the premium Twitter Blue subscription in November 2022.
Meta’s paid subscription service is not yet available for businesses, but any individual can pay for verification.
Badges – or “blue ticks”- have been used as verification tools for high-profile accounts to signify their authenticity.
The subscription would give paying users a blue badge, increased visibility of their posts, protection from impersonators and easier access to customer service, Meta said in a post on their website.
The company told the BBC the change would not affect previously verified accounts, but noted there would be an increase in visibility for some smaller users who become verified thanks to the paid feature.
Allowing paying users access to a blue tick has previously caused trouble for other social media platforms.
Twitter’s pay-for verification feature was paused last November when people started impersonating big brands and celebrities by paying for the badge.
Meta said Instagram and Facebook usernames will have to match a government supplied ID document to be granted verification, and users will have to have a profile picture that includes their face.
Other websites like Reddit, YouTube and Discord similarly use subscription-based models.
Meta has not yet specified when the feature will be rolled out to other countries, although Mr Zuckerberg said in a post it would be “soon”.
In November, the company announced 11,000 job losses as a result of over-investment during the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the time, Mr Zuckerberg said he had predicted an increase in Meta’s growth based on the rise it had over the pandemic, but that ultimately did not happen.
“Many people predicted this would be a permanent acceleration,” he wrote, “I did too, so I made the decision to significantly increase our investments.”
Instead he said “macroeconomic downturn” and “increased competition” caused revenue to be much lower than expected.
“I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that,” he said at the time.
Rs. 20 Bn loan lifeline for SMEs
The government has taken measures to implement a Rs.20 billion credit scheme to revive the micro, small and medium enterprise sector in Sri Lanka.
Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers has granted its consent to the proposal forwarded by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies Minister to implement a credit scheme to revive the micro, small and medium enterprise sector.
Speaking at the weekly Cabinet media briefing held yesterday at the Government Information Department, Cabinet Spokesman, Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana said the proposed Rs.20 billion will be spent on the entire project which has two components.
“Out of this, Rs.15 billion will be used to strengthen existing and new enterprises and the remaining amount of Rs.five billion will be used to support enterprises under the non-performing loan category.
A significant number of small and medium scale entrepreneurs involved in manufacturing, import, export, tourism, apparel and various other commercial operations have found it very difficult to continue running their enterprises as a result of the economic downturn and the impact of external factors beyond their control.
The Asian Development Bank has agreed to provide working capital support for the Small and Medium Enterprise sector as a relief. The proposed programme is intended to provide credit facilities to existing micro, small and medium scale enterprises for further expansion and recovery of their businesses through licensed commercial banks and licensed specialised banks at concessional interest rates.
Won’t be able to offer SriLankan to investors even for free – Minister
Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday (26) spoke firmly on the national carrier – SriLankan Airlines, stating that the airline’s disruptive employees and tarnished reputation would deter potential buyers in the privatisation process.
Speaking at a media briefing yesterday, he said “We cannot run an airline with disruptive employees. This is a critical moment for SriLankan Airlines. We cannot afford to entertain employees who fail to handle situations under pressure.”
“The deadline for the Expressions of Interest (EOIs) is set for 5 March and in the present scenario, according to the information I received some of the bidders want to withdraw. With the negative reputation plaguing the airline, we will not be in a position to offer it free-of-charge even,” the minister claimed.
However, SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage’s views had contrasted starkly with that of Minister de Silva.
The discussion saw a disagreement regarding ground handling. Minister De Silva advocated for immediate privatization of the service, citing shortcomings. Chairman Pathirage, while acknowledging areas for improvement, argued that the lack of aircraft, not ground handling, was the primary issue. He blamed lengthy government procurement procedures for hindering fleet acquisition.
De Silva justified his push for privatization by citing the airline’s struggles and reports of potential bidders withdrawing their interest. While not inherently opposed to privatization, Pathirage emphasized the ongoing process and the lack of control the airline has in the decision.
Meanwhile, trade union representatives commended Pathirage for his leadership whilst blaming political interventions and its past management.
“We all undoubtedly praise the Chairman for his leadership and unwavering commitment to operate this airline amidst all odds. Neither the employees nor the current management of the SriLankan Airlines are responsible for the cancellations and bad reputation, but the political intervention,” they stated.
They also slammed the former COPE Chairmen and MPs Dr. Harsha de Silva and Dr. Charitha Herath for disrupting the lease procedure of the airline when the aircraft were at a lower price. “They are responsible for all the operational delays the airline is facing at present,” they claimed.
(Excerpts : DailyFT)
Australia’s United Petroleum enters SL market
Australia’s United Petroleum has entered into an agreement with the Sri Lankan government to supply petroleum products to the Sri Lankan market.
According to United Petroleum Lanka, Australia’s United Petroleum entered into the relevant agreement with Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Power and Energy on Feb 22.
Following the signing of the agreement, United Petroleum is assigned 150 existing fuel stations and also has the right to build 50 new fuel stations in Sri Lanka.
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