Meta, the parent company of Facebook has made a big announcement today that offers “Blue Tick” verification to users along with a suite of other features for a monthly subscription fee.
For $19.99 per month, Australians can get a verified badge on their Facebook account with Meta saying this won’t apply to new accounts, which will avoid a lot of the impersonation issues Twitter experienced when introducing the same feature.
Users looking for the Blue Tick on Facebook will also need to submit a Government ID that matches the profile name and photo of the Facebook or Instagram Account they’re applying for.
One of the features you’ll get as a paid subscriber is “proactive monitoring for account impersonation”. This is a widespread problem on the Facebook and Instagram platforms with users copying the profile photo of accounts and making new accounts with similar names in the hope of scamming followers and users.
In addition you’ll get access to a “real person” for “common account issues”, and increased visibility and reach in some areas of the platform.
Finally there will be new exclusive features for Verified users such as exclusive stickers on Facebook and Instagram Stories.
The service will launch as a test in Australia and New Zealand before anywhere else in the world. Users who subscribe on the Web will pay $19.99 but if you sign up on your iOS or Android devices you’ll pay $24.99 (the extra being the fee that Apple and Google take which companies are now passing onto users).
It’s quite clear this is a direct response to Twitter’s “Twitter Blue” program which costs a similar amount but offers little more than the Blue Tick.
Facebook has given this additional thought, and has come up with a decent mix of options.
However, paying the same amount as a Premium Netflix account to get a blue tick and faster customer support seems a long shot from most users, though it’s likely businesses will sign up in a heartbeat – and large public profiles too.
Meta makes $5 billion in profit every quarter, and all of that revenue comes from the free user accounts, because as we always say – if the product is free, you are the product. So charging people to get basic access to services like customer support seems a worrying trend to set.
Perhaps rather than charging people to crack down on impersonators, Facebook should just crack down on impersonators.