A new subscription service that would let Facebook and Instagram users pay for a verified account is currently being tested by Meta, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced on his social media accounts.
On Sunday (19 February), Zuckerberg said testing for Meta Verified will begin in New Zealand and Australia this week and will roll out to other countries soon. “This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services,” Zuckerberg said in his message.
Social media companies have been trying to find new revenue sources as online advertising slows. Earlier this month, Meta announced its third consecutive quarter of revenue decline despite an increase in users. Meta announced it was laying off 11,000 workers, or 13% of its workforce, in November.
So how exactly does Meta Verified work, and what features does it grant you access to? And - perhaps most importantly - how much does it cost? Here is everything you need to know about the service.
What is Meta Verified?
Meta Verified is aimed at influencers and others who use social media for their business but are not notable public figures. For 11.99 dollars per month (£10) on the web or 14.99 dollars (£12.50) per month on Apple and Android operating systems, Meta will verify a user’s account and give it a blue badge.
Previously, Meta’s blue badges were free and reserved for notable public figures or businesses. Meta said public figures and others who were previously verified will not be affected by the change. Subscribers will also get extra protection against account impersonation, direct access to customer support, the company said.
Users will also get “increased visibility and reach,” it added, with “prominence in some areas of the platform – like search, comments and recommendations.”
Meta said that in order to verify an account, users will have to “submit a government ID that matches the profile name and photo of the Facebook or Instagram account they’re applying for.” To be eligible, accounts must meet minimum activity requirements, and users must be at least 18 years old.
The move reflects those of Twitter, which last year launched its own subscription service under the guidance of CEO Elon Musk. In late 2022, the social media platform began charging users 8 dollars (£6.65) per month to verify their account with a blue tick, a feature which was previously free.
But this system had a chaotic rollout which saw some use the scheme to impersonate public figures and spread abuse and misinformation, which saw the launch paused and pushed out again several weeks later.
On Saturday (18 February), Twitter took the service a step further, announcing that Twitter users would lose their ability to secure their accounts with two-factor authentication unless they pay the 8-dollar monthly Twitter Blue subscription.
When is it coming to the UK?
According to Zuckerberg, testing for Meta Verified will start this week in New Zealand and Australia before expanding to additional territories “soon”. No further information has as yet been shared.