• btc = $58 041.00 811.19 (1.42 %)

  • eth = $3 135.76 41.87 (1.35 %)

  • ton = $7.33 -0.05 (-0.66 %)

  • btc = $58 041.00 811.19 (1.42 %)

  • eth = $3 135.76 41.87 (1.35 %)

  • ton = $7.33 -0.05 (-0.66 %)

21 Feb, 2023
2 min time to read

Although Meta and Twitter are both leveraging account security to lure in paying subscribers, they are doing so in distinct manners.

For years, social networks have grappled with spam, scams, impersonation, and account hijacking. In the past week, two of them unveiled new strategies for addressing the issue: shifting the cost to users.

Twitter was the first to make a move by announcing that SMS-based two-factor authentication (2FA) would become a premium feature. Users will be required to switch to an app-based authentication system, pay a monthly fee ranging from $8 to $11, or turn off the basic security feature after March 20th. The decision is part of a broader attempt to encourage users to subscribe to Twitter, and Elon Musk supported the move in a tweet, noting that it will also help reduce Twitter's expenses for spam SMS messages from carriers.

Soon after, Meta announced its own security subscription service, which includes a paid verification service for up-and-coming creators. Similar to Twitter Blue, this service offers a blue check and increased visibility, as well as access to a real person for account support and proactive account monitoring for impersonators targeting those with growing online audiences.

From one perspective, both of these moves are understandable. Twitter still offers app-based two-factor authentication for free, which is typically a more secure option, and encouraging more users to adopt it is a positive development. Meta's new plan follows a common strategy for enterprise users by charging extra fees for expedited, full-featured support. The company is attempting to address a real customer service issue, as users were turning to black-market account restoration services when they were hacked.

Money is often used as a tool to combat bad actors online. However, the internet's vast scale and seamless nature make it easy for nefarious individuals to create numerous accounts, while simultaneously making it difficult to provide adequate customer support to the vast number of users. As a result, some smaller online communities have implemented subscription or one-time fee models to serve as a quality filter.

Despite the benefits of monetization, there are also downsides. For example, around three-quarters of Twitter's users rely on SMS-based two-factor authentication, which is less secure than other methods. Twitter is now attempting to transition users to a more secure method while simultaneously profiting from it. The rushed timeline for this transition could lead to users feeling pressured to pay for a less secure option or turning off two-factor authentication altogether.

On the other hand, Meta's plan includes both premium upgrades and features that are essential for a good social network. For example, flagging accounts that are at high risk for impersonation improves the service for everyone and promotes trust between users. While it may be difficult to offer this level of attention to billions of users, it is possible to support large and rapidly growing accounts without requiring a fee. This plan also incentivizes companies to improve their customer service experience for non-paying users who may become locked out of their accounts.