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Facebook and Instagram are trailing with charging $12 per month for blue checks.

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Not only will you receive a blue badge for being “Meta Verified” but a number of additional advantages, such as better visibility, defense against impersonation, priority customer assistance, and more.

Meta is testing paid verification for Facebook and Instagram for $11.99 per month on the web and $14.99 per month on mobile.  A “Meta Verified” account would give users a verified badge, more visibility on the platforms, priority customer assistance, and other benefits, according to an update by CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Instagram. This week, the function will launch in Australia and New Zealand; additional nations will follow “soon.”

This week, Zuckerberg writes, “we’re starting to roll out Meta Verified, a membership service that allows you acquire a blue badge, further impersonation protection from accounts claiming to be you, and direct access to customer support.” With this new function, we hope to improve the legitimacy and security of all of our services.

You must fulfil minimum activity requirements, be at least 18 years of age, and produce a government ID that matches your name and profile picture on Facebook or Instagram in order to sign up to become Meta Verified. The new service is similar to Elon Musk’s $8/month Twitter Blue, but Meta points out that it won’t affect accounts that have already been verified using the prior standards, such as notability and authenticity.

Those who join up for the service will also receive 100 free stars per month, which can be used as virtual currency to tip Facebook producers, in addition to unique stickers for Stories and Reels. In addition, Meta states that changing your profile name, username, birthday, or profile photo would require a new verification process and that businesses cannot currently apply for a Meta Verified badge.

In the long run, Meta writes in a blog post, “we aim to establish a subscription service that’s valuable to everyone, including creators, businesses, and our community at large.”  “As part of this vision, we are evolving the meaning of the verified badge so we can expand access to verification and more people can trust the accounts they interact with are authentic.”

The service will cost $19.99 AUD on the online and $24.99 AUD on mobile when it launches in Australia and New Zealand this week, or $23.99 NZD on the web and $29.99 NZD on mobile. The higher price on iOS and Android is perhaps an attempt to make up for the commission that is charged by both Apple and Google on in-app purchases.

The service was the subject of rumours before this month when a TechCrunch investigation revealed references to paid verification in Instagram’s source code. A help page for paid verification was subsequently launched on either the Australian or New Zealand-based versions of Instagram by social marketing strategist Matt Navarra.

Having said that, it’s challenging to deny the similarities between Twitter Blue, which Musk recently relaunched, and Meta’s new checkmark membership. Although we still don’t know what those additional safeguards are against fake accounts, it appears that Meta is taking account authenticity a little more seriously because it still asks users to provide government-issued identification (much like the old Twitter verification process did) and because it purports to offer additional protections against them. So let’s hope it won’t result in the influx of phoney verified accounts that Twitter experienced last year.

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