Meta, formerly known as Facebook, recently announced the launch of a new paid subscription service called Meta Verified. The new feature is aimed at increasing authenticity and security across Meta’s services including Facebook and Instagram. The announcement was made by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a recent post on his Facebook page.
For $11.99 a month on the web and $14.99 a month on iOS, users will be able to apply for verification and gain access to a blue badge, which signifies that their account has been verified by Meta. Historically, Meta has granted verification to notable users like politicians, executives, members of the press, and organizations to signal their legitimacy.
According to a Meta spokesperson, to qualify for the Meta Verified service, users must be at least 18 years old, meet minimum account activity requirements, and submit a government ID that matches their profile name and photo. The subscription will also include “proactive monitoring” for account impersonation.
While Meta has historically granted verification to notable users, it has faced challenges with imposters in the past. The company hopes that the paid verification service will help curb these issues and provide a more secure and authentic experience for its users.
However, the introduction of a paid verification service is not without its challenges. When Twitter Blue briefly launched in November, companies and celebrities were impersonated within minutes of the launch, forcing Twitter to rescind and ultimately introduce grey badges for government accounts and gold badges for companies. Meta is likely to face similar challenges and may have to introduce new measures to address any potential issues.
Additionally, businesses are not currently eligible to apply for Meta Verified, and the company said users will not be able to change their profile name, username, date of birth, or profile photo without going through the application process again.
Furthermore, while Elon Musk has been open about his intent to eventually remove badges from Twitter accounts that were verified prior to the Twitter Blue launch, Meta will not make changes to accounts that are already verified as the company tests its service, a spokesperson said.
Our take on Meta Verified
Subscription for verification is a tricky program to roll out. While Meta and other social platforms need to have another source of revenue, differentiating celebrity accounts is a necessity. For example, if Justin Beiber has an impersonator who manages to get verified using an ID with the same name, he could force people to buy fraudulent products or click on phishing links amongst other things.
While the mainstream media has loved stories about people paying upto 50k or 100k to get verified, those people are only a handful in number. The larger issue the verified badge solves is impersonation and protecting innocent people from being victimized. In the past, impersonation on IG has led to more hacks, private data leaks and frequent financial scams. Introducing a system that makes impersonation easier will lead to other issues for Meta – newer celebrities opting not to come on the platform, lesser time spent on the platform by the audience, advertisers being vary and alternative social platforms taking up market share.