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Being in the digital identity and authentication business, it’s a question that I get asked quite regularly, but are we about to find out?
Obviously, this is related to the news that broke about Meta, who have announced a new tier of paid subscription on both Facebook and Instagram for a ‘verified account’. This service in essence will allow their users to authenticate their account using some form of Government ID that matches both name and physical appearance and in return receive a blue tick badge that proclaims them as a verified user.
This comes off the back of the other recent changes to account verification made by Twitter, who are removing the option of SMS One-Time Password authentication for accounts that are not paid for as part of the ‘Twitter Blue’ service tier. According to some, in the process this will massively increase the number of fake accounts on the platform (a problem with which Mr. Musk is familiar), however the stats don’t seem to support this as multiple sources that I have read suggest that only a tiny fraction of the global Twitter account base were using SMS 2-factor authentication anyway.
What’s interesting for me in all of this is how it’s going to play out over the months ahead. Obviously one can see positive arguments from both sides around the need for account verification. From Meta/Twitter’s perspective it looks like they are taking action against fake accounts, and with war still raging in Europe and an American election on the horizon that can only be a good thing. From the users’ perspective, if you value your social media profile(s) for generating influence, followers and ultimately revenue then being confirmed as the ‘real’ thing and having the stamp, along with these extra impersonation protections is a no-brainer.
As someone with a notoriously slim social media footprint; (at least one that is genuinely created/managed by me); perhaps I’m the wrong person to ask but how many of Meta’s account holders will want to pay $11.99 (web) or $14.99 (IOS/Android) per month for this Verified status? If the account impersonation detection service that Meta has is actually any good at what point should it be valuable to all of their users to help rid the platform of the scourge of hacked accounts? And if you are charging a premium like this, it better be good otherwise you are going to be in all sorts of trouble!
Make no mistake, charging users to verify their identity is a new and interesting model in the world of social media, and as a key player in the device and digital identity ecosystem it’s one we’ll be watching very closely at TMT Analysis.
TMT Authenticate is a friction-less ‘silent’ authentication that uses live mobile network data to confirm that the device used by a customer is the same one that you expect it to be, with no requirement for an SMS One Time Password or user intervention.
Authenticate links the mobile device and account to the end customer you expect, reducing fraud and friction during a login or onboarding process.
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By leveraging mobile numbers, businesses and platforms can enhance the security of their authentication processes and provide users with a safer and more streamlined experience when using their business applications online.
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