We knew it was coming, but Meta has finally announced a new paid subscription-based program called Meta Verified. This program, which is similar to Twitter's $8 verification scheme, will be tested in Australia and New Zealand and will eventually roll out globally.As per Meta:“To help up-and-coming creators grow their presence and build community faster, we’ll begin testing a new offering called Meta Verified, a subscription bundle on Instagram and Facebook that includes a verified badge, which authenticates your account with government ID, proactive account protection, access to account support, and increased visibility and reach. We’re starting with a gradual test in Australia and New Zealand later this week to learn what’s most valuable, and we hope to bring Meta Verified to the rest of the world soon.”So to summarise, Meta will be offering not just the illusive tick but also access to:
- Impersonation monitoring
- Priority customer support
- Prioritisation in comments
- Extended reach
- Exclusive stickers for IG stories
Access to the verification tag and extra features will set you back a monthly subscription fee of $11.99 on the web, or $14.99 on iOS and Android (which covers the respective App Store fees).Meta says that two of its most requested features are better access to verification and account support, while creators are always looking for more ways to increase their visibility. The new program will cater to all of these needs.However, some are questioning the value of a verification badge when it is available for purchase. The key value of the verification badge is that it is only allocated to profiles that are deemed noteworthy. When anyone can buy one, that value is immediately diminished. On Twitter, for example, a heap of random accounts now have a paid verification badge, which only makes them look desperate for recognition, as opposed to being somebody of note that may have a more insightful or knowledgeable opinion.However, many people have criticized the way verification badges have been allocated in the past, and there is an argument to be made that confusion and misinterpretation around what verification actually means has led to a lot of random accounts being verified anyway.With Meta's development costs still rising and its ad business still recovering from the impact of Apple's ATT update, Meta may need to broaden its horizons.When you consider that Twitter Blue has around 300,000 subscribers, and Snapchat+ now has 2.5 million paying members, it's clear that pay-gating social platforms is a trend that's here to stay, so why shouldn't Meta jump on board?Meta is also looking to latch onto the trend of in-app customizations, which is popular on Snapchat+. They will offer exclusive stickers on Facebook and Instagram Stories and Facebook Reels, and 100 free stars a month on Facebook so users can show their support for other creators.While it's unclear how many people will be willing to pay for a verification badge, extra reach, and direct account support, it will likely be enough to win over at least a few thousand creators. For creators, to whom their presence is their business, it may be a professional cost worth paying. But surely that's only a small audience for these tools.Despite the potential flaws, Meta Verified is a step forward in the company's efforts to monetize its platforms beyond advertising. We'll have to wait and see if this program is successful in attracting paying subscribers.