The social media blue badge verification system is further losing its original meaning on additional platforms. On Sunday, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook and Instagram would begin selling paid verification for a monthly fee. The new paid verification program comes in the wake of Twitter Blue’s subscription service last year, which allows subscribers to get a blue verified badge next to their name.
Zuckerberg’s solution is officially called Meta Verified, and it will allow Facebook and Instagram users to pay a monthly fee to get a blue checkmark next to their name. Meta Verified will cost $11.99 per month if purchased on the web or $14.99 per month if purchased via the company’s iOS apps. In addition to the blue badge, Zuckerberg says Meta Verified subscribers will “get extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you, and get direct access to customer support.”
Twitter Blue’s launch in November 2022 was a disaster, with subscribers abusing the paid verification service to impersonate the accounts of various companies and celebrities. Twitter subsequently paused the Blue service and relaunched it in December with tighter impersonation measures in place. In order to subscribe to Meta Verified, users will be required to verify their identity with a government ID. That, of course, raises privacy concerns. Do you want Facebook to have a copy of your government-issued identification?
Tech companies like Twitter and Facebook, which rely on advertising for the majority of their revenue, are understandably nervous about a weakening economy and a softer ad market. It’s no surprise that Meta is seeking alternative revenue models at a time like this.
However, now that anyone can soon be paid to be verified, the blue verified checkmark that once stood for notability and even a voice of authority or knowledge, now simply represents that the users of a particular social network are just paying subscribers, and thus loses its original meaning—and with it, any social media street cred the mark once held.
Meta Verified will roll out in Australia and New Zealand first, and expand to more countries later this year.
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