Meta’s blue check pivot

Nice little account you got there… Meta wonders if you’d pay to protect it?

What happened: Meta is rolling out a new verified account model for Facebook and Instagram. For US$11.99 a month, you can get a blue badge verifying your identity, stronger account security, and “increased visibility” on the social media platforms.

  • Facebook’s adoption of pay-to-play verification follows Twitter’s roll-out of a similar model last year.

Why it matters: We appear to be entering a new era in social media in which you’ll have to pay for the privilege of visibility—and for basic protection against impersonation and fraud.

  • Growing worries about scammers using fast-evolving AI technologies to simulate real humans online could increase the value of third-party verification and “proactive monitoring for account impersonation” offered by Meta Verified.

Yes, but: Twitter’s subscription model hasn’t exactly been a wild success, with only about 0.2% of its American users signed up as of mid-January. Nor does it seem to be stopping fake accounts from getting verified

  • Analysts think Meta Verified will add at most US$3 billion to Meta’s annual revenues, which amounted to US$117 billion last year.

What’s next: Meta Verified is now live in Australia and New Zealand and will likely roll out to more markets soon.