Back in February this year, Meta announced it was taking a page from Elon Musk’s book and testing paid verification on Instagram and Facebook. While we knew it would be tested in Australia and New Zealand first and that it would be available for a monthly charge, there were few other details given.
The main question on everyone’s lips was: would the paid verification look the same as the earned? I finally got the answer.
“The verified badge looks the same as the existing unpaid verification badge, though we are evolving the meaning of the badge to focus on authenticity,” Meta spokesperson Joanna Stevens told me over email. “The test product has been rolled out to users in Australia and New Zealand. Meta Verified is accessible via the Account Centre in Facebook and Instagram.”
I can also confirm that I’ve seen a Meta Verified badge on an Instagram user here in Australia, and it did look exactly the same as an earned badge. The Instagram user had roughly 8,500 followers, so I wouldn’t have guessed the badge was paid for if I hadn’t been told first.
I myself have around 4,000 followers and, a few weeks before Meta’s announcement about the badge, had successfully applied for the earned badge (you can read about how I got the blue tick as a non-famous person here). The timing wasn’t ideal then, when paid-for badges were announced, especially as there’s no way to share publicly that I did, in fact, earn it.
The paid Meta Verified will give you a blue tick, along with a handful of other benefits, including increased visibility and protection against impersonation.
The subscription service charges $19.99 per month on the web and $24.99 on iOS and Android, according to a Facebook post shared by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, February 20. Zuckerberg didn’t share which countries would be next on the trial.
To qualify for Meta Verified, you’ll need to meet minimum activity requirements, be at least 18 years of age or older, and submit a government ID that matches the name and photo you have on Facebook or Instagram.
In addition to the blue badge, once you submit the verification request and qualify, you’ll also get extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you, as well as direct access to customer support. Users will also get exclusive stickers for Stories and Reels, and 100 free stars per month that they can use to tip creators on Facebook.
“This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services,” Zuckerberg wrote in his post.
In a blog post with the Meta Verified announcement, Meta wrote that the service was to help up-and-coming creators grow their presence and help them build a community faster. It wrote that some of the top requests it gets from creators are for broader access to verification and account support, in addition to features to increase visibility and reach.
“Since last year, we’ve been thinking about how to unlock access to these features through a paid offering,” the blog post reads. “As we test and learn, there will be no changes to accounts on Instagram and Facebook that are already verified based on prior requirements, including authenticity and notability.”
Meta also noted that businesses aren’t yet eligible for a Meta Verified badge, and that you can’t change your profile name, username, birthday or profile photo without going through the verification process all over again.
The service is verrrry similar to Elon Musk’s Twitter Blue, which launched late last year. In addition to giving you the coveted blue checkmark, it also allows you to edit tweets and upload 1080p videos for a monthly fee.
Whether or not Facebook and Instagram users will actually be able to trust Meta Verified accounts, knowing they’ve been paid for, remains to be seen.