Elon Musk pokes fun at Meta’s paid checkout plan with Mr. bean meme

Elon Musk ridiculed Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s claim that his top social networks Facebook and Instagram would charge a monthly verification fee similar to that introduced by Twitter.

Musk, who launched the Twitter Blue subscription service shortly after he completed a $44 billion takeover of the microblogging site, felt vindicated by Meta’s announcement on Sunday.

The head of Twitter said Zuckerberg would “inevitably” follow in his footsteps.

He also posted a hysterically laughing emoji on his Twitter feed in response to a meme that depicted his rival Zuckerberg as the hapless, bumbling Mr. White. Bean, a character played by British comedian Rowan Atkinson.

In the meme Mr. Bean, who is supposed to represent Zuckerberg, takes the exam. He looks at the person sitting next to him and copies from him. The other subject represents Musk.

Facebook and Instagram users will soon need to pay for verification on social media platforms.

Zuckerberg, chief executive of Meta, announced in a Facebook post on Sunday that the service will roll out to Australia and New Zealand for the first time later this week.

The company said it will cost $19.99 a month on the web, or $24.99 on iOS and Android.

Zuckerberg said that in addition to the blue badge, the service will offer “additional impersonation protection,” improved access for verified users, and direct access to customer support.

Meta has stated that government identification documents will be required to verify the identity of verified accounts in order to avoid passing off accounts as people.

“This new feature is designed to enhance the authenticity and security of our services,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote in a statement posted to Facebook and Instagram.

According to the company, subscribers will receive a badge indicating their account has been verified with a government-issued ID, additional impersonation protection, direct access to customer support, and greater visibility.

Social media exploded with the news, with Twitter owner Musk calling the move “inevitable” in a tweet on Monday.

Musk’s initial attempts to launch a similar service on rival social network Twitter last year backfired: a spate of fake accounts spooked advertisers and cast doubt on the site’s future.

He was forced to briefly suspend work before resuming it in December.

The social media giant said the service will primarily target content creators looking to expand their presence on the platforms and may see adjustments after the testing phase.

The company said there would be no change to already verified Facebook and Instagram accounts, adding that only users over 18 would be able to follow. The service is not yet available for businesses.

It wasn’t immediately clear how Mr. Zuckerberg planned to value Meta Verified in countries where users can’t afford to pay $12 a month, or in cash-based economies where they may have fewer ways to transfer money to Meta. .

Zuckerberg, who became the world’s youngest billionaire after he monetized his social media platform, has been criticized by some for “clean booty” of his users.

Others have wondered why they are being asked to pay for a driver’s license from one of the largest technology companies on the planet.

A grim sign for Facebook workers

The move comes amid turmoil for the tech giant.

Months after laying off 11,000 employees, parent company Facebook Meta has given thousands of employees “Unsatisfactory” grades, a sign that the company is preparing for a new wave of job cuts.

Meta’s management expects the rankings released in the recent performance review to result in more employees being laid off in the coming weeks. Wall Street Magazine reported happy friday – and that if not enough voluntarily resigned, a new wave of layoffs could occur.

According to the report, about 10 percent of Meta’s employees received a “best fit” rating, the second-lowest of five possible ratings.

Workers who receive two consecutive “meets the majority” ratings are included in productivity improvement plans, and this is often taken internally as a sign that they are looking for work elsewhere.

“We’ve always had a goal-driven culture of high performance, and our review process is designed to encourage long-term thinking and high-quality work, helping employees get actionable feedback,” a Meta spokesperson told the newspaper.

talking to Wall Street Magazineone former employee described the direct performance appraisal tactic as a return to “old school Zuck”.

Last year, Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg bluntly warned City Hall employees that “there is probably a group of people at the company who shouldn’t be here.”

Months later, in November, the company announced it was cutting 13 percent of its workforce, which Zuckerberg said was “the most difficult change we’ve made in Meta’s history.”

The broader tech sector has seen a brutal wave of mass layoffs in recent months, including 12,000 people at Google, 10,000 at Microsoft, 7,500 at Twitter, 1,200 at Snapchat and 18,000 at Amazon, as well as countless smaller firms.

Earlier this month, Facebook outlined its product priorities for 2023, which Zuckerberg called “the year of efficiency.”

“We are working on simplifying our organizational structure and removing some layers of middle management to make decisions faster, as well as deploying AI tools to help our engineers be more productive,” he wrote.

“As part of that, we’re going to be more aggressive in cutting back on projects that don’t work or may no longer be as important, but my focus is on improving the efficiency of how we deliver on our top priorities.”

“Free and always will be”

Facebook helped create the dominant model of large platforms on the Internet today, in which users benefit from “free” services that collect their data to sell personalized advertising space.

This model has earned the company, along with other advertising giants such as Google, tens of billions of dollars a year.

For years, the Facebook homepage has proudly stated that the site is “free and always will be free.” But in 2019, the company quietly dropped the slogan. At the time, experts speculated that this was because the value of users’ personal data meant that the site was never truly free.

In 2022, Meta’s ad revenue dropped for the first time since the California-based group went public in 2012.

The company recently announced that Facebook has reached two billion daily users, but between inflation eating into advertiser budgets and fierce competition from apps like tick tockthese users no longer generate as much revenue as they used to.

The company has also been hit by regulatory changes made by iPhone maker Apple that limit social media’s ability to collect data and sell ads.

Similar factors have already pushed other networks, from Reddit to Snapchat to Twitter, to launch paid plans.

Meta is also under pressure for making a huge bet on the metaverse, the world of virtual reality that Mr. Zuckerberg believes will be the next frontier of the online.

“Not a small fee”

Investors punished Meta last year by dropping the company’s share price by an astounding two-thirds in 12 months, but the stock rebounded slightly in 2023.

Meta Verified will be cheaper online than on mobile apps due to fees charged by Apple on iPhones or Google on smartphones running its Android system.

Mr. Zuckerberg said it would cost $11.99 (AU$19.99) online and $14.99 (AU$24.99) per month on iOS or Android.

The company said it does not expect to generate significant revenue from the service during the testing phase, but it is part of a diversification effort.

“Personally, I think it has more to do with revenue diversification,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies.

After Twitter launched the subscription, other social media groups thought, “Well, we could try,” she told AFP.

“Justifying it from a creator’s point of view, I think, is more of a marketing gimmick than real value to creators,” she added.

Platforms compete for users and influencers to get their attention.

But for Ms. Milanesi, Meta Verified offers are a “weird mix.”

“I don’t know if that’s enough for one category [of users] to justify a sum of money that is not a small fee.”

– With New York PostAFP

Originally published as Elon Musk pokes fun at Meta’s paid checkout plan with Mr. bean meme

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