Facebook and Instagram users in the United States will soon be able to pay to get a coveted blue check on their account.
Meta on Friday began testing a paid verification option for US users of the two social networks, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Instagram. The company plans to gradually roll out the paid option to more US users over the next few weeks.
First tested in February in Australia and New Zealand, Meta Verified starts at $11.99 a month on the web or $14.99 a month on mobile. In addition to verification, the option offers perks such as extra protection from impersonation accounts and direct access to customer support.
To avoid fake accounts, customers who want to get the blue badge would need to provide a government ID which matches their profile name and picture. Users must also be above 18 to be eligible for the new service.
"This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services," Zuckerberg wrote in February in an Instagram broadcast channel.
Meta joins other platforms, like Discord, Reddit and YouTube, which have their own subscription-based models. Twitter relaunched its own verification subscription service, Twitter Blue, in December, after an onset of fake "verified" accounts forced it to pull the feature. Twitter Blue costs $11 a month for iOS and Android subscribers, part of owner Elon Musk's attempt to raise its subscriptions business after buying the platform for $44 billion.
For Meta, the move offers the promise of another revenue stream beyond advertising, at a time when its core ad sales business is under pressure from a number of factors, including privacy changes on Apple and tightening budgets amid recession fears.
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