Meta has announced it is testing a new subscription service allowing Facebook and Instagram users to pay for a verified account.
Meta Verified will be available for $11.99 (€11.23) a month on the web or $14.99 (€14) a month on Apple and Android operating systems.
The company is taking a page from Twitter's playbook in launching a subscription service. Late last year, Twitter began charging users $8 per month for Twitter Blue, which verifies their account with a blue check.
Announcing Meta Verified on his social media accounts on Sunday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said testing would begin in New Zealand and Australia this week and the service would be rolled out to other countries soon.
Public figures and others who were previously verified won't be affected by the change, Meta said.
Meta Verified is aimed at influencers and others who use social media for their business but aren't notable public figures.
Towards subscription-based social media?
Social media companies have been trying to find new revenue sources as online advertising slows.
Earlier this month, Meta announced its third consecutive quarter of revenue declines despite an increase in users. In November, it announced it was laying off 11,000 workers, or 13 per cent of its workforce.
The drama around Twitter’s own subscription service apparently hasn’t put off Meta, one of its main competitors, from following in its steps.
Twitter Blue has been surrounded by confusion, U-turns, and mocking Internet memes aimed at subscribers.
Twitter caused a further stir around its subscription service on the weekend, announcing that users would lose the ability to secure their accounts with two-factor authentication via text message unless they subscribe to Twitter Blue.
The launch of Twitter Blue was originally paused after it descended into chaos with mass impersonation even impacting the stock prices of major companies.
Subsequent changes attempted to address the issue of impersonation, but Twitter Blue still does not require photo ID to get verified - meaning any account that pays the $8 (€7.48) monthly fee can get a blue tick.
Meta Verified is different in that it will require a government ID. Zuckerberg said those who get verified will get a “blue badge” as well as extra protection against impersonation and direct access to customer support.
“This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services,” he said in his post on Sunday.