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Monday’s top tech news: paid verification comes to Meta

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Meta is testing letting users on Instagram and Facebook pay to be officially verified, after Twitter rolled out a similar feature under Elon Musk’s ownership last year. Meta’s implementation will only be available in Australia and New Zealand to start, and will require people to submit a government ID to get their blue badges. Let’s hope it doesn’t face the same impersonation problems that Twitter encountered when its service originally launched last year.

That’s not to say that Twitter’s paid subscription offering isn’t facing controversies of its own. Over the weekend it emerged that Musk’s social media network is removing the option of using SMS for two-factor authentication for non-paying users. Yes, SMS is considered to be the less secure way of using 2FA, but it’s convenient and better than no 2FA at all, so it’s sad to see it disappear behind a paywall.

And finally, for those keeping track, today is the day that Nothing, Forever’s Twitch suspension is set to lift. The AI-generated Seinfeld spoof was in the process of going viral before being taken down after one of its characters made a transphobic remark, but its creators hope to bring it back with more safeguards against inappropriate content in place.

Now, here’s a silly tweet to start your day:

Stay tuned, as we continue to update this list with the most important news of today: Monday, February 20th, 2023.
  • Emma Roth

    Feb 19

    Emma Roth

    Facebook and Instagram are testing selling you blue checks for $12 a month

    The Facebook logo on a blue background surrounded by blue circles.
    Illustration by Nick Barclay / The Verge

    Meta’s testing paid verification for Instagram and Facebook for $11.99 per month on web and $14.99 per month on mobile. In an update on Instagram, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that a “Meta Verified” account will grant users a verified badge, increased visibility on the platforms, prioritized customer support, and more. The feature’s rolling out to Australia and New Zealand this week and will arrive in more countries “soon.”

    “This week we’re starting to roll out Meta Verified — a subscription service that lets you verify your account with a government ID, get a blue badge, get extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you, and get direct access to customer support,” Zuckerberg writes. “This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services.”

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  • The AI-powered Seinfeld spoof is set to return to Twitch with new guardrails in place

    Screenshot from an “episode” of Nothing, Forever featuring Larry standing in a kitchen
    Image: Nothing, Forever / Twitch

    Nothing, Forever, an AI-powered Seinfeld spoof show on Twitch, was quickly becoming the next big thing on the platform. During the always-on stream, a cast of Seinfeld-adjacent characters had befuddling conversations, made weird jokes, and moved through a world of crude, blocky graphics, all backed by a laugh track and directed by AI.

    But then it was suspended for two weeks after the Jerry Seinfeld-like character made transphobic remarks. That suspension is set to lift on Monday, and while its creators at Mismatch Media have been working to make sure transphobic comments won’t happen again, they can’t guarantee it.

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  • Official: Twitter will now charge for SMS two-factor authentication

    Elon Musk shrugging on a background with the Twitter logo
    Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images

    Four hours ago, Platformer’s Zoe Schiffer tweeted a scoop: Twitter would begin charging for SMS two-factor authentication.

    Now, it’s official: You have to pay for the privilege of using Twitter’s worst form of authentication. In fact, if you don’t start paying for Twitter Blue ($8 a month on Android; $11 a month on iOS) or switch your account to use a far more reliable authenticator app or physical security key, Twitter will simply turn off your 2FA after March 20th.

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