Meta launches a paid verification service

New York (CNN) Meta is testing a subscription service that allows Instagram and Facebook users to pay to be verified, Mark Zuckerberg announced on Instagram on Sunday.

“Meta Verified” starts at $11.99 a month on the web or $14.99 a month on iOS, and the company will begin releasing it this week in Australia and New Zealand and “soon in more countries.”

The service also offers other benefits: extra protection against impersonation accounts and direct access to customer support.

To avoid fake accounts, customers wishing to get the blue badge must provide government-issued ID that matches their profile name and photo. Users must also be over the age of 18 to be eligible.

“This new feature is about increasing the authenticity and security of our services,” Zuckerberg wrote in an Instagram broadcast channel.

In a statement, Meta clarified that there will be no changes to accounts that have already been verified. Authentication used to be for users who are “authentic and noteworthy”.

“We are developing the meaning of the blue badge to focus on authenticity so we can expand authentication access to more people,” said a Meta spokesperson. “We will display the number of followers in more places so people can distinguish which accounts are notable public figures among accounts of the same name.”

Meta joins other platforms, such as Discord, Reddit, and YouTube, which have their own subscription-based models.

Twitter relaunched its own verification subscription service, Twitter Blue, in December after a series of fake “verified” accounts forced it to remove the feature. Checkmark options now have different colors to differentiate between accounts: gold checks for businesses, gray checks for government agencies and other organizations, and blue checks for individuals, whether they’re celebrities or not.

Twitter Blue costs $11 a month for iOS and Android subscribers, part of owner Elon Musk’s bid to boost his subscription business after buying the platform for $44 billion.

CNN’s Clare Duffy contributed to this report.






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