Priced at $11.99 per month, Meta’s new service offers Twitter Blue-like subscriptions for Facebook and Instagram.

Huge news in the world of social media: Facebook and Instagram have launched Meta Verified, a paid subscription service. This decision comes as the internet’s traditional advertising-based business model struggles to generate income.

The program, which costs $11.99 per month, attempts to improve authenticity and security on Facebook and Instagram. It gives users an icon that shows their account has been verified with a government ID. It also gives them more protection against impersonation, direct access to customer service, and more exposure. The program is mostly for people who make content and want to be seen more on the platforms.

Facebook contributed to the current dominating paradigm of major platforms on the internet, which offers “free” services that collect user data in order to sell targeted ad space. However, in 2019, the firm discreetly dropped its slogan of “free and always will be,” and now Meta’s ad revenue is declining for the first time since becoming public in 2012.

Meta Verified is now being rolled out in Australia and New Zealand before expanding to the US and other nations. It’s unclear how Mark Zuckerberg intends to price the service in nations where customers cannot afford to pay $12 per month, or in cash-based economies where users may have fewer options for getting money to Meta.

Meta is also under fire for betting big on the metaverse, the virtual reality world that Zuckerberg hopes will be the next frontier online. Last year, investors penalized the company, but the stock has since recovered some ground in 2023.

Because of commissions taken by Apple on the iPhone and Google on cellphones running its Android system, Meta Verified will be cheaper on the web than on mobile applications. During the testing period, the firm does not plan to generate much income from the service, but it is part of Meta’s diversification initiatives.

The transition to premium plans is not unique to Meta. Similar paid programs have been established by other social media platforms ranging from Reddit to Snapchat and Twitter. Platforms are competing for users and influencers, but some analysts believe that Meta Verified offers are “a strange mix” and may not be worth the money, which is not a small charge.

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