Despite Twitter’s problems with its blue checkmark, Meta does the same
Despite all the public backlash caused by Elon Musk’s $8-dollar Twitter blue checkmark, Mark Zuckerberg apparently can’t resist an iffy idea when he sees it.
Though Musk received lots of scorn for introducing an $8 monthly paid verification subscription scheme with a blue “Verified account” checkmark, Meta will now do more or less the same.
The parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, which is almost entirely controlled by its founder Mark Zuckerberg, will however charge more. Amusingly, its version will be blue too.
In exchange for paying $12 monthly if paying on the web, and $15 monthly if paying through iOS or Android, owners of Instagram or Facebook accounts will be able to verify their accounts as legitimate. It’s not specified why mobile subscribers need to pay more.
The subscription will also require government-issued ID verification. In exchange for these things, account holders will get their digital paws on a shiny little virtual blue badge that attests to their “authenticity”.
According to Meta’s founder, this will be a level of “extra impersonation protection” for account owners against fake accounts that claim their name or brand identification dishonestly.
Zuckerberg also added that the blue seal will give its subscribers access to real customer support (as opposed to the notoriously crappy and unresponsive algorithmic systems for free users.)
The multi-billionaire tech mogul helpfully explains, “This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services,”. He also mentions that “We’ll be rolling out in Australia and New Zealand this week and more countries soon.”
The Meta blog went into further detail on the blue seal in a recent post. It claims that it’s a test service designed to help new creators grow and fortify their digital presence on Meta’s social media platforms.
It also adds that already-verified accounts on both platforms will stay verified even if they don’t subscribe.
According to the blog post, “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.”
Curiously, the same blog post also claims that the subscription service won’t be available to business accounts for now. This seems odd considering their claims of improving brand identification, but we’ll see how this rule evolves.
Another tidbit the post contains, which creators should really keep in mind, is the following additional rule:
“At this time, Meta Verified will only support your real name on your profile. Once your profile is verified, you can’t change the profile name, username, date of birth, or photo on your profile without going through the Meta Verified subscription and verifications application process again.”
So if you’re a creative who likes to get creative about changing your IG or Facebook handles occasionally, or need to change them for any reason at all, you might want to carefully consider that shiny blue seal.
Meta could also be not-so-subtly ratcheting the pressure on publicity-conscious creators to make sure that they do pay if they want to build their presence.
The supposed benefits of the blue seal include increased visibility, higher reach in search, comment reach and recommendations, and other “exclusive features” that the company hasn’t yet detailed.
The plausible flipside of these benefits is that if you’re a creator who doesn’t subscribe to the blue seal, your visibility and recommendations to others will decrease.
Meta doesn’t say this, but many of us have previously seen cases of photographers and other artists who don’t pay for paid promotion seeing the visibility of their posts drop.
A similar tendency wouldn’t be in the least bit surprising in the wake of Zuckerberg’s blue seal subscription.
It’s also worth mentioning that Musk’s own blue checkmark has had all kinds of problems since its rollout.
The new owner of Twitter even had to recall it at one point because of a proliferation of fake accounts that had nonetheless managed to falsely obtain their own blue checkmarks.
We’ll see if Facebook and Instagram, both long famous for all kinds of account credibility problems, can avoid the problems Twitter has faced.