Meta – the parent company of Facebook and Instagram – wants proficient users to start paying for some of their site’s features, taking a page out of Twitter’s playbook by charging for blue checkmarks that have already been approved via verifications. Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Meta, said in Facebook and Instagram posts on Sunday, a new subscription service called Meta Verified will be available this week in Australia and New Zealand and will be rolled out soon in other countries. For $11.99 per month (or $14.99 if purchased on Apple’s operating system, iOS), users get a blue badge and direct access to customer support. The company describes the effort as a “gradual test”.
“This new feature is intended to increase the authenticity and security of our services,” Zuckerberg wrote. The company says that to be eligible for Meta Verified, users will need to submit a government ID to prove their identity, and registrants will only be allowed to use their legal name on their profile page. Subscribers will receive “additional impersonation protection against accounts pretending to be you,” Zuckerberg said.
A spokesperson for Meta said the service will expand to the US in the next few weeks. She declined to name other countries that will have Meta Verified. Facebook and Instagram accounts must be registered in Meta Verified separately—meaning those who want the blue badge on both sites must pay at least $24 a month—but Meta plans to eventually offer membership package, she announced.
For now, people who have verified accounts on Instagram and Facebook will be able to keep them for free, Meta said in a blog post. The company described the new paid service as a way to “help potential creators grow their presence and build communities faster.”
Meta’s sign-up move follows a push by Twitter under new owner Elon Musk to charge users $8 a month for blue checkmarks through its Twitter Blue service. Twitter announced last week that it would soon be disabling SMS two-factor authentication for users who haven’t signed up for Twitter Blue.
Meta, which relies heavily on advertising revenue, has been cutting costs and finding new revenue streams lately — even as it continues to invest billions of dollars to migrate into the so-called Metaverse. When Facebook released its latest quarterly results this month, Zuckerberg said his management theme for 2023 was a “productive year” and said his company was “focused on being a strong organization…stronger and more agile”.