Meta will be trialling a new subscription service for Facebook and Instagram users in Australia, at a cost of just under $25 per month.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the process of Meta Verified Monday morning, with Australia and New Zealand as the first test areas for the service.
The monthly subscription service offers Facebook and Instagram users blue badge verification, access to account support, and enhanced visibility.
At $24.99 per month on iOS and Android and $19.99 per month on the web, it’s significantly more expensive than comparable subscription offerings from Meta’s rivals, including Twitter and Snapchat.
Zuckerberg said the main feature of the paid plan will be account verification.
“This new feature is about increasing the authenticity and security of our services,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.
a blog post expanding the service focused entirely on content creators on Facebook and Instagram.
“Meta wants to make it easier for creators and interested individuals to build a presence so they can focus on building their communities on Facebook or Instagram,” the Meta blog post read.
Paid Facebook or Instagram users can have a blue verification badge on their profile if they provide the service with a government-issued ID that matches their profile name and photo. They also get proactive account protection and access to exclusive stickers for Instagram Stories and Facebook Reels, along with 100 free stars per month to give to other users.
Meta employees proactively monitor verified accounts to make sure they are not impersonating someone else.
“Just like Meta does with any product launch, having the right protection in place was one of the guiding principles in developing Meta Verified from the very beginning,” the blog post reads.
“To help prevent impersonation, Meta has built a series of checks before, during and after a user requests a Meta Verified subscription.”
To join Meta Verified, a user must be at least 18 years old and have a valid government ID. The service is initially not available to companies on the platforms.
For a Facebook or Instagram user on a smartphone, a subscription to Meta Verified costs just under $300 per year. It is more expensive than a subscription to various streaming platforms, such as Netflix or Stan.
A number of other social media companies have recently launched subscription offerings, and Meta’s is now one of the most expensive.
Under new CEO Elon Musk, Twitter launched its Blue subscription offering. For $19 per month on iOS and $13 on the web, Twitter users can receive a blue verification checkmark along with early access to select new features.
Snapchat+ offers users “exclusive, experimental, and pre-release features” for $5.99 per month.
Messaging app Telegram also recently launched its own paid offering, with Telegram Premium priced at $7.49 per month. A subscription gets a user double limits, 4GB file uploads, faster downloads, exclusive stickers and comments, and improved chat management.
The monetization plan comes after Meta recently announced that 11,000 employees would be laid off late last year, with 2023 being the “year of efficiency” according to Zuckerberg.
It came after the founder and CEO admitted he was “wrong” in going all in on a metaverse strategy that has has cost the company $23 billion to date.
Meta is too possibly on the hook for a $1.1 billion payout in damages to settle privacy claims based on its data sharing partnership with British company Cambridge Analytica.