Meta Verified, a subscription service that lets users add a blue checkmark to their Facebook and Instagram accounts, has been launched by Meta. Following social media rival Twitter, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared a monthly subscription will be available to those who wish to verify their identity.
Meta is planning to launch the feature in Australia and New Zealand this week before hitting the global market. It’s priced at $11.99 a month on the web or $14.99 on Apple’s iOS, but it’s unclear whether Android users can purchase it or not.
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The company has announced that users can authenticate their identities using government-issued ID cards, which will provide a range of benefits. These include enhanced visibility and expanded reach, better protection against impersonation attacks, and immediate access to customer support.
“This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services,” said Zuckerberg in a post.
‘Customer support feature is real value’
Currently, reaching customer service on Facebook can be quite challenging. Users are directed to the Help Centre, then to the Business Help Centre, but it can be tricky to connect with an agent.
As such, some users are likely to appreciate the ability to gain direct access to customer support.
“Direct access to customer support is the real value, much more so than the blue check mark,” said Michelle R. Gould in a comment on Zuckerberg’s post.
In response, Zuckerberg agreed “that’s a big part of the value.” Users with Meta Verified accounts will be able to effectively remove fake accounts, according to the CEO.
“…once you’ve verified your account with a government ID we can more effectively find and remove any imposter accounts since we know which account is the real you,” Zuckerberg replied.
However, concerns have been raised about whether “access to customer support should be free.”
A new channel for revenue
Subscription-based account verification was introduced by Twitter in November, after Elon Musk purchased the company. Musk said the move was “essential to defeat spam/scam.”
Although some have accused Zuckerberg of simply copying Twitter with Meta Verified, the company has explained that it is “evolving the meaning of the verified badge.”
“Long term, we want to build a subscription offering that’s valuable to everyone, including creators, businesses, and our community at large. 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,” wrote Meta in a blog post.
There will be no changes to accounts on Instagram and Facebook that are already verified based on prior requirements, including authenticity and notability, said Meta.
The company has explained that businesses are not eligible to apply for Meta Verified at this time, though Zuckerberg’s comments about building a subscription service that’s “valuable to everyone” suggests it may not be far away.