Meta is rolling out a paid verification service for Facebook and Instagram accounts in an effort to bolster protection against fraudulent users, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Sunday.
“This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services,” Zuckerberg said in a statement announcing the new feature. It follows Twitter’s disastrous rollout of its own Twitter Blue verification service late last year.
“Meta Verified” accounts will be made available to users in Australia and New Zealand later this week before expanding to other countries as part of a testing program, Meta said in a separate statement.
Participants will verify their account with a government ID and receive a blue badge in return. These badge holders will receive “extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you, and get direct access to customer support,” said Zuckerberg. The monthly fee of $11.99 or $14.99 will depend on whether it’s used on the web or mobile.
The monthly fees will help cover the cost of verifying users and for providing direct customer support. It will also “pace how many people sign up so we’ll be able to ensure quality as we scale,” Zuckerberg said.
Users will only be able to purchase a subscription for Instagram or Facebook, and not both platforms at once, though the company intends to allow users to purchase both within one subscription in the future, a Meta spokesperson told HuffPost Sunday.
Meta said it won’t make any changes to Instagram or Facebook accounts that are already verified based on prior requirements, though the company suggested that this could change once the testing period is complete.
A company spokesperson declined to say how long the testing period may last.
Back in November Twitter launched and then immediately rolled back its own blue verification checkmark program after it verified a wave of imposter accounts. That program, starting at $8 a month, was later relaunched with additional features offered to subscribers including “priority ranking in search, mentions and replies,” the company said.
Both Meta and Twitter have seen low earnings, as well as a decline in users and digital advertising, over the last year.