Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his company will be launching a new subscription service called Meta Verified. This service will provide Facebook users with a blue badge, “extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you,” and “direct access to customer support,” he wrote in his Sunday morning message.
“This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services,” Zuckerberg wrote.
UPDATE: Meta Verified will start at $11.99 per month on the web / $14.99 on iOS
The service will cost $11.99 per month if it’s purchased on the web or $14.99 if “users subscribe through the company’s apps on iOS and Android,” according to technology blog Engadget. “The subscription will cover both Instagram and Facebook accounts.”
The rollout will begin this week in Australia and New Zealand and more countries will be added soon, Zuckerberg said.
12 bucks a month to be verified on Facebook… I wonder if people will keep that same Twitter Blue outrage energy pic.twitter.com/ZPJsIHBerO
Engadget reported rumors that Meta would be offering a paid verification service began earlier this month “when reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi discovered code referencing ‘paid blue badge’ and ‘identity verification.’
“On early Sunday morning, social media consultant and former Next Web reporter Matt Navarra found that Meta had published an Instagram support page detailing the subscription, only to later take it down before Zuckerberg’s Instagram post,” the report said.
It’s too early to tell if this news will be received with the same outrage that accompanied Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s announcement that Twitter “blue checks” would have to pony up $8 per month to maintain their “verified” status. The service, up until November, had been free.
At the time, according to the BBC, Musk said the new fee was “essential to defeat spam/scam.” He added that “paid users would have priority in replies and searches, and half as many advertisements.”
Critics expressed concern that the “move could make it harder to identify reliable sources.”
Nu Wexler, former Twitter Head of Global Policy Communications, told the BBC that charging users a monthly fee for the blue check could “make it harder to spot disinformation.”
“With disinformation as an issue that a lot of platforms are struggling with, verification is one of the ways that journalists, academic researchers and some users use to filter out disinformation or low quality information,” Wexler said.
He added, “If you’re offering up blue checks for rent, it makes it harder to sift through disinformation and find high quality information.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.