Meta is testing monthly subscription services for Facebook and Instagram that give users blue tick verification, in a controversial move that echoes Twitter Blue.
The new Meta Verified plan will be available in Australia and New Zealand later this week, with Meta listed (opens in new tab) that it hopes to bring the service “soon to the rest of the world”.
The monthly subscription, which costs $11.99 / AU$19.99 (about £10) on the web and $14.99 / AU$24.99 (about £13) on iOS and Android, comes with features mainly are intended for creators who are making their way to success on Facebook and Instagram.
Meta says there are five main benefits to having a Meta Verified subscription. First, you get a verified badge, which requires you to send a government-issued ID like a passport to Meta for authentication.
In a nutshell
– Meta is testing a monthly subscription service for Facebook and Instagram called ‘Meta Verified’
– It will be tested in Australia and New Zealand later this week, before coming soon to the rest of the world
– The main benefits are a verified badge, proactive account monitoring, better support and more visibility
– The web version costs $11.99 / AU$19.99 (about £10)
– On iOS/Android it costs $14.99 / AU$24.99 (about £13)
– Companies cannot now apply for ‘Meta Verified’
You also get what Meta calls “proactive account monitoring” to fend off impersonators in case of identity theft (opens in new tab), along with security assistance from “a real person”. But the most tantalizing and controversial aspect of Meta Verified is its promise of “increased visibility and more prominent reach in some areas of the platform,” including in searches, comments, and recommendations.
For anyone using Facebook and Instagram to promote their personal brand, it sounds like the new subscription could almost become a prerequisite for success on the platforms. But we’ll have to see exactly how powerful this increased visibility turns out to be in reality. Meta says “subscribers will see a smaller following and a more noticeable impact on their reach,” because of their smaller audience.
It is already possible to get a verified account on Facebook and Instagram, something many users have worked hard for. Fortunately, Meta has promised that “there will be no changes to accounts on Instagram and Facebook that have already been verified” based on previous requirements.
But changes will come in the long run, with Meta saying it wants to build a subscription service for everyone, including businesses and “our community at large.” In other words, while businesses can’t yet apply for a Meta Verified badge, expect that to follow — along with a wider campaign to get Facebook and Instagram users to sign up for a pricey monthly subscription.
Like Twitter, Meta has been forced to launch a monthly subscription for Facebook and Instagram due to some harsh economic realities, namely declining ad revenue and the knock-on effects of Apple’s annoying “ask app not to track” privacy feature.
Meta Verified is clearly aimed at creators who would like to exchange part of the financial profit they make from promotion on Facebook and Instagram for a monthly fee. But even for that audience, the fee seems high. At $11.99 per month for the web-only version, it’s the same as YouTube Premium — promising an ad-free experience and more.
Instead, Meta Verified’s main goal seems to be to allow creators to buy some “increased visibility,” which Meta admits can vary depending on their “existing audience and the topic of their posts.” As with Twitter, the result could be a layered social media landscape, where subscribers work their way to the top of our feeds.
A rollout for business accounts seems inevitable, and this is where Facebook – which still has the largest number of active users (opens in new tab) from any social media site – could really tap into a valuable, if likely controversial, new revenue stream.
What is not yet clear is exactly how many people, in a difficult financial climate, are willing to pay for social media services that were historically free, albeit supported by advertising and user data sharing. This is something Meta will test with its Meta Verified trials in Australia and New Zealand before a global rollout that the tech giant says is coming “soon”.
- Make sure your accounts are secured with 2FA (opens in new tab)and consider using the best authentication apps (opens in new tab) for optimal protection