It looks like Meta’s plans to charge subscriptions for Facebook and Instagram have gone down as well as an offensive meme posted by your uncle, with searches for how to deactivate Facebook and Instagram exploding after the news.
A quick glance at Google Trends (and pointed out by VPNOverview.com (opens in new tab)) shows a large spike in searches for ‘Deactivate Instagram’ – with an incredible increase of 2,400% peaking just after the news broke on February 19.
Searches for ‘Deactivate Facebook’ also rocketed by 1,566%. While Google Trends, which measures how popular certain terms are when used by people searching the internet with Google, shows that after those large spikes things settled down again, it’s clear that Meta’s plans spooked plenty of people into considering leaving those social media platforms.
If you’re considering leaving the platforms, then check out our guides on how to deactivate Facebook and how to deactivate Instagram for a step-by-step process.
Thanks Elon, I hate it
While it might be fun to blame Elon Musk for everything that’s wrong with the modern world, the fact that Meta announced its subscription plans so soon after Musk bought the rival Twitter platform and implemented controversial changes with the Twitter Blue subscription seems more than just a coincidence – but that’s probably exactly what it is.
Surely, no one at Meta looked at how poorly Twitter Blue was received and thought “we’d like a piece of that.”
Instead, like Twitter, it seems like Meta is trying to work out how to make money from its social media platforms, and it seems by adding a “Meta Verified subscription” for $11.99 / AU$19.99 (around £10) (or $14.99 / AU$24.99 (around £13) for mobile users) with the promise of "increased visibility and reach with prominence in some areas of the platform", including in search, comments, and recommendations, the company hopes to increase its profits, which have been increasingly shaky of late, especially with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s obsession with the virtual reality Metaverse bleeding out money.
It's a gamble that so far doesn’t seem to have paid off. The subscription service hasn’t even launched yet, but it’s caused a lot of people to look at how to leave the platforms. While both Facebook and Instagram will continue to be free to use, there’s an understandable worry that people who don’t pay to be ‘Meta Verified’ will essentially be treated as second-class citizens.
It’s not clear how many of these searches ended with people actually deactivating their accounts, but Meta isn’t in a position to find out. Time will tell if this backlash causes the company to revise its plans.