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Facebook, Instagram plan blue check 'verified' service

February 19, 2023

"Meta Verified" follows Twitter and other social media companies attempting to instill confidence in their services by asking users to pay to prove their identities.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook profile on a smartphone
Meta Verified will let users verify an "account with a government ID and get a blue badgeImage: Cris Faga/ZUMA/picture alliance

Facebook and Instagram's parent company, Meta, announced on Sunday it would test a paid subscription service.

"Meta Verified," available in Australia and New Zealand this week, would authenticate users and reward them with a blue badge to show their status.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the subscription would also include extra protection against impersonation and ensure prioritized customer support.

It will cost $11.99 (roughly €11.20) per month on the web or $14.99 a month on Apple's iOS system and Android.

Other social media subscriptions

It is very similar to Elon Musk's $8 per month "Twitter Blue" subscription service.

Twitter's launch last year backfired with an embarrassing spate of fake accounts that scared advertisers and cast doubt on the site's future.

Musk was forced to briefly suspend the effort before relaunching it to muted reception in December.

Zuckerberg, however, stressed there would be no changes to accounts on Facebook and Instagram that were already verified.

Other social media apps, like Snap Inc's Snapchat and messaging app Telegram, also launched paid subscription services last year, as a new source of revenue.

Meta sales revenue down in 2022

Meta is also under pressure after taking a huge gamble on the metaverse, the virtual reality world that Zuckerberg believes will be the next online frontier.

What is the metaverse?

Earlier this month, Meta posted its first-ever revenue decline since going public in 2012, with sales down by 1% to $116.6 billion last year.

Facebook's user growth has slowed down but the company also recently announced that the number of daily users on Facebook hit two billion for the first time.

lo/sms (Reuters, AFP)