Meta’s testing paid verification for Instagram and Facebook for $11.99 per month on web and $14.99 per month on mobile. In an update on Instagram, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that a “Meta Verified” account will grant users a verified badge, increased visibility on the platforms, prioritized customer support, and more. The feature’s rolling out to Australia and New Zealand this week and will arrive in more countries “soon.”
“This week we’re starting to roll out Meta Verified — a subscription service that lets you verify your account with a government ID, get a blue badge, get extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you, and get direct access to customer support,” Zuckerberg writes. “This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services.”
In order to sign up to become Meta Verified, you’ll need to meet minimum activity requirements, be at least 18 years of age or older, and submit a government ID that matches the name and photo you have on Facebook or Instagram. The new offering sounds a lot like Elon Musk’s $8 per month version of Twitter Blue, but Meta notes that it won’t make any changes to accounts that have been verified using the company’s previous requirements, including notability and authenticity.
Additionally, users who sign up for the service will get exclusive stickers for Stories and Reels, and will also receive 100 free stars per month, or the digital currency you can use to tip creators on Facebook. Meta notes that businesses can’t yet apply for a Meta Verified badge and that you can’t change your profile name, username, birthday, or profile photo without going through the verification process all over again.
“Long term, we want to build a subscription offering that’s valuable to everyone, including creators, businesses and our community at large,” Meta writes in a blog post. “As part of this vision, we are evolving the meaning of the verified badge so we can expand access to verification and more people can trust the accounts they interact with are authentic.”
When the service launches in Australia and New Zealand this week, it’ll cost $19.99 AUD on web and $24.99 AUD on mobile, or $23.99 NZD on web and $29.99 NZD on mobile. The higher cost on iOS and Android is likely a way to offset the commission both Apple and Google take on in-app purchases.
Rumors about the service first surfaced earlier this month when a report from TechCrunch shared references to paid verification in Instagram’s source code. Social media consultant Matt Navarra later posted what appears to be a support page for paid verification on either the Australian or New Zealand-based version of Instagram.
With that said, it’s hard to ignore the parallels between Meta’s new checkmark subscription and Twitter Blue, which Musk just relaunched months ago. It seems like Meta’s taking account authenticity a bit more seriously, however, as it still requires users to submit government IDs (like the old Twitter verification process did) and supposedly offers additional safeguards against fake accounts, although we still don’t know what those are. Let’s just hope it won’t cause the flood of fake verified accounts we saw on Twitter last year.
Update February 19th, 3:15PM ET: Updated to add a quote from a Meta blog post.