On February 19, 2023, Mark Zuckerberg announced Meta Verified. This subscription model will allow users to verify their Facebook and Instagram accounts and get the Blue Tick badge with their government-issued ID card for a small monthly fee. It will cost $11.99 for web users and $14.99 for iOS users.
This paid verification approach was first taken by Twitter after Elon Mask took over. But Twitter was then spammed with fake paid verification, ruining the meaning of “verification” as people began to verify fake accounts just by paying the fee. At one point, a large number of parody accounts were sporting the verified badge and proudly surfing Twitter.
Rules to get verified
Learning from their rival’s mistake, Facebook made some rules that will prevent this type of abuse. Users must provide a government-issued ID card to get verified. After verification, users can’t change their profile name, image, or date of birth. They’ll have to unsubscribe from the verification, change, and then re-verify to change this info.
The restriction on changing profile pictures seems a little overkill, and Facebook has admitted that. They are working on a feature that will allow users to change these settings through a new verification process that won’t require them to through the hassle of unsubscribing and resubscribing. Another point to note is that the name “Meta Verification” is kind of misleading because Meta won’t verify a profile across Facebook and Instagram. You have to buy two separate plans for each platform. It is not available for business Facebook accounts.
Initially rolling out for Australia and New Zealand, this feature created a mixed reaction online. Although Facebook claimed that they were going to “stay free always” — a slogan they dropped in 2019 — some believe this paid subscription model is contradictory to that claim. However, the social media giant pushes that this system will help creators grow and stop impersonations. It is visible that showing advertisements isn’t working for Facebook anymore and it hides the famous blue verification tick behind the paywall.
No more free 2FA SMS on Twitter
In a post two weeks ago, Twitter announced it is going to disable the phone-based 2FA for users who are not verified. They said that the security feature will be disabled on March 20 for users who are not verified. Twitter verification costs $11 on Android and iOS while it’s $8 on the web.
Twitter said this decision was taken because this function was “abused by bad actors.” As an alternative, non-verified users can use an app-based 2FA. Despite that reasoning, it’s no surprise that putting a security feature behind a paywall has created a negative reaction on the internet.
According to the security report of July 2022, 74.4% of users used SMS-based 2FA. This move from Twitter will force a lot of users to get verified and pay a monthly fee, making it more apparent that the company seems to be in desperate need of revenue. Elon Musk took more than $12 billion in loans to buy Twitter and recently made the first interest payment.
Photo credits: The feature image is owned by Meta and has been made available for press usage.
Sources: Bethany Biron (Business Insider) / Sridhar Natarajan, Paula Seligson, and Gowri Gurumurthy (Bloomberg)