Meta has announced it’s launching its own version of Twitter’s Blue Tick called ‘Meta Verified’ for Facebook and Instagram where users pay a monthly subscription to be verified on the platforms.
On February 19, Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that Meta is starting the rollout of its new ‘Meta Verified’ subscription service for Facebook and Instagram, staring in Australia and New Zealand. For a monthly subscription of $11.99 / month on web or $14.99 / month on iOS., Meta Verified lets users verify their account “with a government ID” in return for which they get a blue badge, i.e. extra impersonation-protection against accounts claiming to be them, plus direct access to customer support.
Meta says that the new feature “is about increasing authenticity and security across our services” and Mark Zuckerberg says that a blue badge “effectively find and remove any imposter accounts since we know which account is the real you.”
Imposter Accounts Problem
Facebook and Twitter (two of the most widely used social media platforms) and other platforms have suffered from the issue of people setting up imposter accounts. Imposter accounts on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter can pose several problems, including:
– Misrepresentation. Imposter accounts often pretend to be someone else, such as a celebrity or a public figure, and use their name, image, or brand to mislead people. This misrepresentation can damage the reputation of the person or brand being impersonated.
– Identity theft. Imposter accounts can also use stolen personal information to create fake accounts, which can lead to identity theft and other fraudulent activities.
– The spreading of misinformation. Imposter accounts can also spread false information, rumours or propaganda, which can harm individuals or groups and influence public opinion.
– Cyberbullying. Imposter accounts can also use fake identities to harass or bully people, which can cause emotional distress and harm mental health.
– Security concerns. Imposter accounts can be used to gain access to personal information or to spread malware or viruses, which can compromise the security of social media users.
Like Twitter’s ‘Blue Tick’ Service
Meta’s Blue Badge service appears to be remarkably similar to Twitter’s Blue service.
Twitter’s Blue service, often referred to as ‘Blue Tick’ was originally introduced back in 2021 following reports that perhaps as much as 19 per cent of Twitter accounts could be fake and untrustworthy. The problem persisted and became an issue last year when Elon Musk was buying Twitter when it was estimated that spam and fake accounts / bot accounts (not run by humans) made up 5 per cent of Twitter accounts.
With Musk also needing a revenue stream in addition to advertising, a revamped, subscription Blue service was introduced in November 2022 with users able to verify (by use of a blue tick next to their name) that their account is genuine and get editing and customisation options that free accounts don’t have. Despite the service experiencing a backlash that alarmed some advertisers, and being temporarily halted, it was resumed it in December 2022.
A recent tweet suggesting that Meta’s ‘Meta Verified’ subscription service (Blue Badge) is essentially a copy of Twitter’s idea was met with a reply from Elon Musk saying that Meta’s move was “inevitable.”
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
For Meta, in addition to being a competitive move, it’s also a way to increase revenue, tackle the problem of fake accounts and the spreading of disinformation and misinformation that Facebook, along with other platforms, has suffered from, while increasing trust in the platform. That said, the Meta Verified service is just in Australia and New Zealand at the moment, so it remains to be seen what kind of reaction there is to it, and how successful it looks likely to be if rolled out elsewhere.
It may initially be more useful and more popular among some user groups than others, e.g. celebrities, political leaders, well known businesses, and content creators wanting to increase their presence on Facebook and Twitter. For those who subscribe to Meta Verified, it may be the case that access to customer support is a large part of the real value of the service, and not just the blue badge.