BBB warns of subscription service scams following Meta announcement

FILE(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 1:54 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Better Business Bureau has warned residents about the potential for subscription service scams following Meta’s announcement of its own paid verification program.

The Better Business Bureau says that on Sunday, Feb. 19, Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the company would introduce Meta Verified - a paid “blue verification badge” for Facebook and Instagram that would be available later this week. The service includes a verification badge, protection against impersonating accounts, increased visibility, priority customer service and other exclusive features. The move follows Twitter’s introduction of the controversial idea.

As with any new program, the BBB warned about initial confusion on what it all means and scammers have lined up to grab at any new opportunity. It said residents should ensure they have all the facts to protect against future scam attempts.

Here is what the BBB said users should know:

  • Regular Facebook and Instagram users do not have to pay. The subscription service is an option to help creators and businesses build communities.
  • The optional Meta subscription service will cost $11.99 per month online and $14.99 for the mobile app. Twitter’s blue check costs $8 per month for the web and $11 for its mobile app. Twitter also announced an upcharge for its new secure text messaging program.
  • Meta Verified is only available in New Zealand and Australia currently, but could soon be globally expanded and eventually to business accounts. Twitter Blue is currently available in many countries, including the U.S. and Canada.
  • Users are required to meet the minimum requirements - be at least 18 years old and submit a government ID that matches the name and photo on Facebook and Instagram.

The Bureau said residents should be on the lookout for potential scams including phishing emails, texts and direct messages. If residents suspect a scam, they can go to its Spot a Scam page to verify. It also warned residents to beware of imposters and to always check links before they are clicked as well as fact-check all information.