Social media Kingpins; Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have now migrated to a new subscription-based verification system. With the respective CEOs weighing in on the reasons for and benefits of paid verification, Net Influencer had to monitor the conversation on your behalf.
We examine paid verification and its impact on users, especially social media creators and influencers. We also explore the advantages and disadvantages of paid verification and share some online safety tips to follow, while deciding whether or not to sign up for the ‘Pay-to-Play’ type service.
What is Paid Verification?
The blue verified checkmark was free but exclusive to notable and famous users on social media. All this changed when Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk rolled out his version of paid verification shortly after acquiring Twitter in 2022. Musk announced the termination of Twitter’s legacy verified program and replaced it with Twitter Blue in November 2022. At $8 per month, users were asked to subscribe for the security, verification, and support services previously provided for free.
Meta followed suit on February 19th, 2023, when Meta CEO Mark Zuckerman announced the launch of Meta Verified. This is a Facebook and Instagram subscription service that provides similar services to Twitter Blue, at a monthly cost of approximately $11 on IOS.
What does paid verification offer?
With paid verification, subscribers are offered exclusive features, which are not limited to but include:
- A verified checkmark that assures your audience that you are who you say you are.
- Additional security against impersonators, hackers and other breaches
- Assistance from a real person when you experience issues with your account
Why are Meta and Twitter taking this route?
The cost of providing security and verification services to billions of users on these platforms is exorbitant, claimed Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerman- This is the reason for launching Meta Verified months after Twitter attempted paid verification.
Elon Musk, on the other hand, is opposed to celebrities, politicians, and influencers receiving the blue check status. He believes all users should have access to this.
Musk made this statement, “It’s more about treating everyone equally,” he said. “There shouldn’t be a different standard for celebrities imo.”
Who will be impacted by Paid Verification?
With Twitter and Meta’s paid verification targeting all users, everyone should be impacted by it. However, the features are still being tested and are subject to change. Therefore, it is difficult to predict the impact of paid verification, with certainty-or if it is worth the monthly subscription.
The consequence of this will also vary among the diverse membership. Less prominent creators can expect an increase in their social media credibility by subscribing, while more prominent online influencers may lose their exclusivity in the process. The average user may not experience any effect from paid verification, as it stands.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Paid Verification
Advantages of Twitter Blue
The $8 monthly subscription with Twitter Blue includes these existing and forthcoming features:
- Soon to experience “half the ads” compared to Twitter users who do not subscribe
- Soon to enjoy “twice as relevant” ads
- Soon able to post longer videos to Twitter. The length of the video has not been clarified. However, the current cap is 42 minutes for 1080p video. This is expected to increase.
- Verification, security, and support services
Disadvantages of Twitter blue
While it grants the average user the opportunity to be verified, there are some setbacks to consider before subscribing to Twitter blue, which we have documented here:
- There has been an increase in complaints from Twitter Blue subscribers regarding the lack of growth in engagement since subscribing. Twitter Blue users believe they are paying to be ignored.
- The exclusivity of and ability to differentiate public figures from the average user has subsequently disappeared. The playing field may have been leveled out, eliminating the Lord and Peasant system. However, the influencer and online market rely on this distinction, and the absence of this affects business.
- Reliability of information and sources has diminished with verification being paid for.
Benefits of Meta Verified
Facebook and Instagram may be following the trend set by Twitter Blue but Meta Verified has applied its spin to paid verification, with these benefits:
- Support new and less prominent creators in expanding their presence and building a following in less time, using the paid verification features that increase visibility and reach.
- A verified badge that confirms that you are who you say you are.
- Additional protection from impersonation. This includes proactive account monitoring for impersonators who might target people with growing online audiences.
- Assistance and support, with access to a real person for common account issues.
- Includes exclusive features to express yourself in unique ways:
- Free stickers on Facebook and Instagram Stories and Facebook Reels,
- 100 free stars a month on Facebook to express support for other creators.
- Accounts on Instagram and Facebook that are already verified based on the previous requirements will remain unchanged, for now- while testing is being conducted.
- Continuous monitoring and review of reported violations and taking action against those who try to evade the system.
Disadvantages of Meta Verified
Meta Verified is not without any drawbacks. These reported disadvantages must be noted:
- Businesses are not eligible to apply for Meta Verified at this time.
- Meta Verified will only recognize and verify your real name on your profile. This is temporary, according to Meta.
- You will not be able to change your profile name, username, date of birth, or photo on a verified profile, without following the Meta Verified subscription and verifications application process again.
- Users who do not frequently post stories or use Facebook Stars will not get the full benefits or impact of Meta Verified.
Guidelines for online security and safety – with or without paid verification
These baseline rules for safety on any social media platform might keep your account safe until you decide whether or not to pay for verification and security.
- Never divulge personal information to other social media users, especially banking details
- While advised to refrain from donating money online, you are encouraged to research any cause’s legitimacy outside of the platform to ensure it is not a scam.
- Take accountability by verifying your facts and information shared online, to prevent the spread of misinformation. This applies to images and videos too.
- Two-factor authentication will secure your accounts and make sure to save your backup/recovery for all platforms.
Meta has concluded a trial run of Meta Verified in Australia and New Zealand with reports of positive outcomes. They will roll out testing in the US, which was announced by Meta’s CEO Zuckerberg on 17th March 2023. Twitter Blue continues to sanction Twitter’s paid verification since November 2022 but has not removed legacy verification checkmarks just yet.
The paid verification landscape is now being designed, as these major platforms transition to what they define as a positive shift for social media marketers and creators. Still, users are predictably unsettled and opposed to paid verification. There have been campaigns launched against Twitter Blue to minimize the reach of accounts subscribed to Twitter Blue.
However, paid verification provides credibility, safety, and verification, which translates to providing assurance for your audience.