It’s a shame to confess, but my vanity plate is mine.
Be careful what you think. It was included with your vehicle. I love it, actually — it’s fun to talk to people about how I ended up with the custom plate and bought the car in the first place. I doubt I would ever pay extra for something like this, especially since it’s such a status symbol.
The same opinion applies to social media verified badges. Meta, the parent company to both Instagram and Facebook announced recently a Meta Verified program for $12. This allows you to show the world that you’re not just one mindless rabbit.
This badge is currently being distributed by the company overseas and has a striking resemblance with my Twitter Blue badge.
Like that vanity plate, it’s mostly a status symbol that you are the person you say you are. Meta Verified perks also remind me of Twitter Blue. Your profile will appear more frequently in searches and it’s a way to make sure no one can impersonate you. You will also receive priority customer support, according to the announcement.
“Some of the top requests we get from creators are for broader access to verification and account support, in addition to more features to increase visibility and reach. Since last year, we’ve been thinking about how to unlock access to these features through a paid offering,” the company explained in the announcement. You also get exclusive access to brand new features.
All you need is a government-issued identification and…some cash.
It’s all a bit much, though.
Like someone wearing blindfolds in a dark room looking for a light switch, both Meta and Twitter are on the hunt for some extra revenue, especially since advertisers are starting to wonder if there’s really any value in trying to reach new customers through these platforms.
The verification subscription shows that social media companies don’t really know their own users. The free apps provide some value, but paying extra for services that should be included for free doesn’t really make sense.
To begin with, any vanity badge posted on social media must be earned or proven to have merit. The purpose of the privilege is not to be paid for. You can speak to a real person to discuss your Instagram and Facebook problems. This is one of the major benefits of the paid service. I wonder if it would be better to make a useful product that doesn’t require that much support? Is it better to offer support for everyone as most businesses do?
I’ve mentioned this before, but we moved on from the vanity mindset a long time ago. We don’t care. Ever since Klout went the way of the dinosaurs, we’ve all realized that a vanity badge has about as much meaning as winning a free shake at DQ.
To me, it sounds like a desperate attempt to sucker a few unsuspecting users into paying Meta money for something that won’t really make any difference in your life — virtual or physical. The question now is: Can they find out who the people are? Really want?