(Paris) No to the paid certification of Facebook and Instagram accounts, urged Tuesday in a press release Reporters Without Borders, for whom this feature currently being tested creates “a two-speed system” in access to information.
Meta, the American web giant that owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, launched a new paid feature called “Meta Verified” in Australia and New Zealand on February 19.
Against a dozen dollars a month, the “creators” of social networks Facebook and Instagram will be able to obtain a small blue badge proving that their online identity corresponds to their marital status and gain visibility on the platform.
Twitter, under the leadership of its new boss, billionaire Elon Musk, already launched a paid account authentication formula at the end of 2022.
Wind up against this type of device, the NGO for the defense of freedom of the press calls on Meta “to withdraw this dangerous tool which establishes a two-speed regime on access to information online”.
“Presenting this new feature as a guarantee of reliability when it is only disguised advertising is simply misleading and dangerous,” said Vincent Berthier, head of RSF’s Technologies office, quoted in the press release.
This tool “is aimed at emerging creators who do not yet have a large audience but who are trying to establish their presence on Instagram or Facebook”, reacted to AFP a spokesperson for Meta.
“We’re starting with a test so we can learn and evolve Meta Verified before expanding it,” continued Meta, saying we welcome and encourage feedback on this new feature.
“Access to information is not a market, it’s a right”, declares Reporters Without Borders, advocating the establishment of rules to regulate this type of functionality.
Among these, proscribe the use of terms “such as ‘certification’ which suggests that there are guarantees of authenticity or reliability”.
“Any paid promotion of content must be presented distinctly as such” accompanied by a mandatory statement such as “advertising” or “paid promotion”, suggests RSF.
Finally, according to the NGO, “the functioning of algorithms must integrate the promotion of the reliability of information and reject any commercial logic”.