As Twitter continues its frankly bizarre campaign to attract subscribers to its Twitter Blue service, Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Meta is launching a similar subscription verification service of its own for Facebook and Instagram, called Meta Verified.
“This week we’re starting to roll out Meta Verified—a subscription service that lets you verify your account with a government ID, get a blue badge, get extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you, and get direct access to customer support,” Zuckerberg revealed (opens in new tab) yesterday. “This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services.”
Meta Verified will be rolled out for testing this week in Australia and New Zealand, with more countries set to follow “soon.” The service will cost $12 per month for verification on the web, or $15 per month on iOS and Android devices. That’s US funds, for the record: Australians will pay $20 per month for Meta Verification on the web, or $25 per month on mobile.
In a blog post (opens in new tab) following Zuckerberg’s announcement, Meta said it wants to “make it easier for people, especially creators, to establish a presence so they can focus on building their communities on Instagram or Facebook.”
“Some of the top requests we get from creators are for broader access to verification and account support, in addition to more features to increase visibility and reach,” Meta said. “Since last year, we’ve been thinking about how to unlock access to these features through a paid offering.”
And this is what it’s come up with:
- A verified badge, confirming you’re the real you and that your account has been authenticated with a government ID.
- More protection from impersonation with proactive account monitoring for impersonators who might target people with growing online audiences.
- Help when you need it with access to a real person for common account issues.
- Increased visibility and reach with prominence in some areas of the platform– like search, comments and recommendations.
- Exclusive features to express yourself in unique ways. That will apparently include “exclusive stickers on Facebook and Instagram Stories and Facebook Reels, and 100 free stars a month on Facebook so you can show your support for other creators.”
There are a number of eligibility requirements if you want to join the club. You have to be at least 18 years old and “meet minimum activity requirements, such as prior posting history” in order to sign up for Meta Verified. You’ll also have to use your real name on your profile, and once you’ve been verified you cannot change your profile or user name, date of birth, or profile photo without going through the verification process again.
Interestingly, businesses are not eligible for Meta Verified, although that will presumably change in the future, once the kinks are worked out of the system. Existing Instagram and Facebook accounts that are already verified based on prior requirements will not be affected by the change.
Much like Twitter, Facebook has stumbled badly in recent months, thanks in part to Zuckerberg’s dogged pursuit of the metaverse (opens in new tab). In November 2022 the company announced plans to lay off 13% of its global workforce, putting more than 11,000 people (opens in new tab) out of work; in the company’s fourth quarter financials, released in February 2023, Meta reported losing a staggering $4.3 billion (opens in new tab) through Meta Reality Labs, its VR and metaverse division. I don’t know if a subscription-based verification service can stop that kind of bleeding—does anyone really care if they’re verified on Facebook?—but Meta seems pretty clearly in need of new, stable revenue streams. If Twitter can do it (which, to be frank, remains an open question) then why not Meta too?
Twitter owner Elon Musk, who recently piled the Twitter mess a little higher by announcing that two-factor authentication via SMS will soon be restricted to Twitter Blue subscribers (opens in new tab), shared his own thought on Meta’s move to paid verification, calling it “inevitable.”