Facebook’s parent company Meta’s verification system Meta Verified is currently at its beta stage as it looks to officially launch it to the public soon.
This follows Twitter’s Twitter Blue service which charges US$8-a-month ($11.65 AUD) in return for premium services, such as SMS-based two-factor authentication which is set to take effect on 20 March.
Meta Verified’s monthly subscription bundle is slated to cost creators and individual accounts $240/year ($20/month) and will include account verification with impersonation protections and access to increased visibility and support.
While Meta has stated that businesses are not eligible to apply for Meta Verified at the moment, digital marketing presence provider Localsearch believes it will only be a matter of time before a business version of Meta Verified will be made available, though to what extent remains a question. As such. Localsearch says that small businesses seek further consideration and clarification as to how it will impact their operations.
Daniel Stoten, Executive Chairman of Localsearch, explained, “We at Localsearch have concerns about this proposed feature and its implications for small businesses and digital marketing. It comes across as yet another blockade big corporations have imposed without giving consideration to the players it might stamp out – we can only imagine it being a matter of time before this rolls out across Meta business profiles (across Instagram and Facebook).”
He added, “As a company, it is safe to assume the subscription would be considerably more expensive for businesses, potentially irrespective of their size – which is concerning for the 2.5 million small businesses, many of which are Mum of Dad run operations, in Australia. Coming out of COVID restrictions has led small businesses to endure more than they ever have, and a betting battle for a legitimate place on social media is the last thing they need.”
Localsearch noted that fixed costs such as rent and insurance that allow a business to exist at all have increased dramatically, not to mention the expenses for staff, maintenance, and the demanding nature of being one of the few or only employees at a small business. ”This has a snowball effect onto the rightly disgruntled consumer, negatively impacting the market as a whole,” Stoten says.
Although half a million users left the platform in late 2022, Facebook remains one of the biggest social media platforms currently in the market. Foc Localsearch, closing the market on small businesses reduces the ways they can reach their potential future customers.
“For small-business owners who critically rely on social media platforms as a means of connecting with and selling to customers, we ask that Meta take a more holistic approach to this feature and consider the future implications on local and small business operations,” Stoten concluded.