Most Americans Won’t Pay for Social Media, but Those Who Would Want a Badge and Improved Security
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Meta Platforms Inc. has launched Meta Verified, a subscription service for Facebook and Instagram that provides people additional account protection, customer support and a verification badge on their profile for a monthly fee. It follows Twitter Inc.'s Twitter Blue, a subscription service that offers anyone a blue checkmark and the ability to post longer tweets and edit tweets after posting.
These services are part of a larger trend by social media platforms to charge for access to premium features — and most Americans are not interested, according to a new Morning Consult survey.
3 in 4 Adults Wouldn’t Pay for Social Media
General public pans paying for social media, though paid content creators are more open
- Three in 4 U.S. adults have little or no interest in paying for social media, including more than half who said they would “definitely not” ever pay to use these platforms.
- People who create content online and earn income from it are much more open to the possibility of paying for social media with 2 in 3 expressing a willingness to pay and nearly half saying they definitely would.
- Nearly 4 in 5 adults say they are concerned about privacy on social media, but that concerned demographic is still largely disinterested in paying for social media, suggesting additional privacy and security would not attract many people to pay for platforms.
Verified Badge Is the Most Important Social Media Feature for Paid Content Creators
Those who will pay for social media services want a badge, improved account security
Social media companies have increasingly started to introduce paid features, typically targeted at users who already spend a significant amount of time on the platforms. Features include access to unique content, experimental features, fewer advertisements, improved account protection like two-factor authentication and monitoring for impersonation and the ability to post longer content and higher-quality media.
Of the features that have been made available or promised in the future through these subscription services, improved account security appeals to the largest share of adults, with 1 in 4 saying it is the most important feature a social media company can offer. And of people who said they would be open to paying for social media, 3 in 10 said improved security and a verification badge are most important.
However, the largest share of adults (26%) said that none of the features currently offered or promised is important enough to pay for.
Content creators who generate income off their posts, who are much more open to paying for premium features on social media platforms, are most interested in a verified badge on their profile: 1 in 3 said the checkmark, once synonymous with authenticity and authority, is the most important feature a social media company can offer.
Most features being offered by social media companies under new subscription models appeal more to content creators than average users. Increasingly, power users dominate feeds on social media platforms. Twitter, for instance, found that less than 10% of users produce 90% of the platform’s content. The subscription services currently offered by social media companies seem largely targeted to convert power users into paying users, rather than try to shift the majority of users away from the free-to-use model.
The March 11-12, 2023, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2,200 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
AJ Dellinger is a data reporter at Morning Consult covering technology. @ajdell