As Twitter continues its frankly weird campaign to attract subscribers to its Twitter Blue service, Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Meta is launching a similar subscription verification service for Facebook and Instagram, called Meta Verified.
“This week we’re launching 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 that claim to be you, and get instant access in customer support,” Zuckerberg revealed (opens in new tab) yesterday. “This new feature is all about increasing authenticity and security in our services.”
Meta Verified will launch for testing this week in Australia and New Zealand, with more countries to follow “soon”. The service will cost $12 per month for web verification or $15 per month on iOS and Android devices. Here’s the US funds, for the record: Aussies will pay $20 a month for Meta Verification on the web, or $25 a month on mobile.
In a blog post (opens in new tab) After Zuckerberg’s announcement, Meta said it wanted to “make it easier for people, especially creators, to get 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 account verification and 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 comes out:
- A verified badgeconfirming that you are the real you and that your account has been verified with a government ID.
- More protection against impersonation with proactive account monitoring for impersonators who may be targeting people with growing online audiences.
- Help when you need it with real-person access for common account issues.
- Increased visibility and range with prominence in certain areas of the platform – such as search, feedback and recommendations.
- Exclusive features to express yourself in unique ways. This will apparently include “exclusive stickers on Facebook and Instagram Stories and Facebook Reels, and 100 free stars per month on Facebook so you can show your support for other creators.”
There are several eligibility requirements if you want to join the club. To join Meta Verified, you must be at least 18 years old and “meet minimum activity requirements, such as previous posting history.” You must also use your real name on your profile and once verified, you cannot change your profile or username, date of birth or profile photo without going through the verification process again.
Interestingly, businesses are not eligible for Meta Verified, although this will likely change in the future once the system issues are ironed out. Existing Instagram and Facebook accounts that have already been verified based on previous requirements will not be affected by the change.
Like Twitter, Facebook has stumbled badly in recent months, thanks in part to Zuckerberg’s dogged pursuit of change. (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) without job; in the company’s fourth quarter financials, released in February 2023, Meta reported that it lost a staggering $4.3 billion (opens in new tab) via Meta Reality Labs, its VR and metaverse division. I don’t know if a subscription-based verification service can stop this kind of bleeding—does anyone really care if they’re verified on Facebook?—but Meta clearly needs new, steady revenue streams. If Twitter can do it (which, to be honest, remains an open question) then why not Meta?
Twitter owner Elon Musk, who recently piled the Twitter chaos a little higher by announcing that two-factor authentication via SMS is coming soon limited to Twitter Blue subscribers (opens in new tab)shared his own thoughts on Meta’s move into paid verification, calling it “inevitable.”