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Instagram and Facebook launch new paid verification service, Meta Verified

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, pictured in 2018, announced that Instagram and Facebook are launching a paid verification service called 'Meta Verified.'
Marcio Jose Sanchez
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, pictured in 2018, announced that Instagram and Facebook are launching a paid verification service called 'Meta Verified.'

Facebook and Instagram are launching a new subscription service that will allow users to pay to become verified.

Meta — the parent company of Facebook and Instagram — said it would begin testing "Meta Verified" in Australia and New Zealand this week, with other countries soon. The announcement came on Sunday via CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Instagram account.

The monthly subscription service will start at $11.99 a month on the web or $14.99 a month on iOS or Android.

In addition to a verification badge, the service includes more protection against impersonating accounts, increased visibility in areas such as search and recommendations, and more direct access to customer support,according to a news release.

"This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services," Zuckerberg wrote.

Currently, Facebook and Instagram allow users of popular and notable accounts to add a free badge noting the account's authenticity.

The move aligns closely with Elon Musk's revamped "Twitter Blue," which was unveiled in November 2022. Musk made theonce-free blue check mark, noting a popular account's authenticity, available to any user who paid a monthly fee, but had torelaunch the service in December aftera flood of users impersonated companies and celebrities.

Unlike Twitter, however, Meta clarified that there will be no changes to accounts which were verified as a result of prior "authenticity and notability" requirements.

Meta Verified isn't available for businesses yet, but that's part of the service's long-term goal.

"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," Meta's news release said.

Meta's announcement to charge for verification comes after the company lost more than $600 billion in market value last year.

The company has reported year-over-year declines in revenue for the last three consecutive quarters, though the most recent report may signify that the tides are turning.

Zuckerberg said Meta's goal was to focus on "efficiency" to recover. The company cut costs by laying off 13% of the workforce — 11,000 employees — in November, and consolidated office buildings.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Roshan Fernandez