Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms Inc. is introducing Meta Verified, a subscription service with a number of extra benefits and features, including account verification badges for those who pay.
The new subscription, which is primarily geared toward content producers, will cost $11.99 per month ($14.99 if purchased through the iOS app). The subscription includes “proactive account protection, access to account support, and increased visibility and reach,” according to a Meta spokesperson in an email. It also comes with a verification badge.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement of the new product via his Instagram Channel, a recently launched service. Both Facebook and Instagram will have the option, but they will require separate subscriptions.
In order to diversify their highly dependent on advertising businesses, social networking companies have become increasingly popular with subscription offerings in recent years. Snapchat Plus is a product offered by Snap Inc., and Twitter Inc. is currently promoting a subscription service with account verification as a key selling point.
The majority of Meta’s income comes from advertising, but this source of income can fluctuate greatly depending on the state of the general economy. For example, the beginning of the pandemic and last year’s war in Europe and rise in inflation both had a significant negative impact on Meta’s business. A stream of income that is more reliable is from subscriptions.
However, it’s unclear whether users would prefer to pay for previously free services. Twitter’s subscription service hasn’t gained much traction. The “increased visibility” component of Meta’s subscription plan may be its most valuable feature. Nowadays, it’s harder to stand out on Facebook or Instagram, even among a user’s own followers. The company has begun to steer users toward additional content that they might find interesting, rather than just content from people they follow.
According to the company, increased visibility will result in “prominence in some platform areas, like search, comments, and recommendations.” Meta will require users to confirm their identity with a government ID in order to receive a verification badge, in contrast to Twitter, which does not do so through the subscription.
Later this week, Meta will begin testing the subscription service in Australia and New Zealand.
(Adapted from Bloomberg.com)