Facebook parent Meta has launched a monthly subscription service called Meta Verified, which allows a person to earn the coveted blue tick on Instagram and Facebook by verifying their identity and unlocking a new revenue channel that has had mixed success for its smaller rival, Twitter .
The subscription service, which will debut in New Zealand and Australia starting this week, costs $11.99 a month on the web or $14.99 on Apple’s iOS. (The company hasn’t said when it plans to make the service available for purchase through its Android apps.) Meta Verified will allow a user to verify their identity using their government-issued ID card. The subscription service will also offer enhanced identity protection and direct access to customer support, Meta said.
Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Meta, said in a Facebook post that Meta Verified is “about increasing the authenticity and security of our services.” He said Meta Verified is rolling out “soon to more countries,” but didn’t elaborate. We asked Meta some additional questions and will update the story when we get feedback.
Sunday’s announcement comes months after Elon Musk overhauled Twitter’s subscription service, Twitter Blue, to offer a number of additional features, including the blue tick. Twitter has expanded Twitter Blue to over a dozen markets in recent months, including India and Indonesia.
Musk is banking on making the subscription service a key revenue driver for Twitter, which he acquired last year for $44 billion — $13 billion of which he borrowed from banks. Musk has to pay more than $1 billion a year in interest payments.
The blue tick has long been one of the coveted features on social media platforms. Previously it was reserved for public figures such as lawmakers, actors, musicians, athletes and journalists. Musk has criticized the idea, arguing that the feature should be open to everyone. He has said that those who achieved the blue tick outside of the Twitter Blue subscription will eventually lose it. Zuckerberg didn’t say if Meta planned to rebuild its entire verified library, and didn’t mention if the subscription service will be expanded to businesses.
Meta, whose shares have rallied in recent weeks, is also suffering from a harsh market reaction to its grand Metaverse vision. The company, which has laid off about 11,000 employees in the past two months, has pledged to cut its spending on the Metaverse ambitions. It is reportedly planning another round of layoffs soon.
“The thing about religion is that it requires a leap of faith. Believe in something that you may never be able to definitively prove. And there will be moments that will test that belief, moments that will make you question everything you’ve accepted as fact. Drama aside, 2022 was a challenging year for believers in the House of Zuck, with many being marginalized or throwing in the towel, culminating in the capitulation we witnessed last quarter,” Bernstein analysts wrote in this month a note.
“But it appears that Meta has found its own religion of efficiency/profitability, and investors now find a leaner, smarter company ahead of them.”