Creating a problem, then selling a solution is one of the most lucrative business models in existence.
Would mobile games designed to be long, grindy slogs instead of tight, engaging fun be as lucrative without in-app purchases?
Would ‘bleach your skin’ soaps, lotions, creams, and pills rake in cash if companies didn’t lean into the classism and racism that says dark skin isn’t as good as lighter skin?
And now with the overflow of ‘Verification and security for everyone…who can pay’ spreading from Twitter like an uncovered sneeze, it looks like I just…Meta ‘nother company to vent my dirty commie spleen on.
Meta, parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced the rollout of its own blue checkmarks—and it’s a tidy $11.99 per month on desktop, and $14.99 on mobile to make sure you’ve got a:
- Extra impersonation protection
- Direct line to customer service
- and more peace of mind
I didn’t have a huge issue with verification as it used to be used.
Sure it was definitely irritating to watch Facebook pages pop up for books and shows, and I thought it was dumb that social media let companies and celebrities have their own pages instead of just keeping up their websites. But for worse and worse, we landed at social media profiles becoming another marketing tool, and so there rose a legitimate need for easy identification of the ‘REAL’ version of anywhere and anyone.
Any buttholey butthole could run out and call themselves Oprah Official, and use a combo of widening media illiteracy and innocent credulity to scam people, harass others, and spread misinformation. It made sense for actual Oprah to be able to keep her digital identity.
But that’s not what verification is about anymore. Now it’s another sold fix from a company deliberately throwing wrenches into their own gears.
Anyone who’s slogged through how to report a page you see pretending to be a shop or celebrity you know full well would not follow you, has met with the ‘Hi, sure, we’re definitely on this, thanks’ message. Same with reporting harassment or spam/money entrapment accounts. I’ve actually gotten a message after reporting a spammy profile that told me ‘We have too many problems and too few people to consider this a priority, so get stuffed we guess, lol.’
But imagine if I were to report…with a checkmark. You know, a little proof that I’m paying a company valuated in the billions of dollars grabbed from advertising to me every five posts to actually perform customer service.
Then they’ll actually keep their services safe. Then they’ll actually maintain a hospitable environment for their users. Then they’ll bother to make sure your posts reach people.
Okay, they didn’t make an official statement on that last one. But come on.
As for the rest, does that even begin to make sense?
And the separation of church and app—this extra charge for mobile versus the exact same service but through a computer that can’t fit in a pocket?
Well now we know why stock soared earlier.
As we’ve been dragged toward subscription everything, no true ownership, and constant ads PLUS constant payments, can we finally admit that ‘Businesses exist to make money’ is not a valid answer to companies actively working to make our lives worse so they can pursue impossible endlessly increasing profits?
The hand of the free market better change to a foot in a boot and fast.