Meta’s new $11.99 monthly service gives Twitter Blue-like Facebook and Instagram memberships.

Big 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 produce revenue.

The program, which costs $11.99 a month, aims to improve authenticity and security on Facebook and Instagram. It shows users an indicator indicating that their account has been confirmed with a government ID. It also provides them with increased protection against impersonation, direct access to customer service, and increased exposure. The initiative is mostly for people who create content and want to be seen more on the platforms.

Facebook contributed to the current dominant paradigm of large online platforms, which offer “free” services that collect user data in order to sell targeted ad space. However, in 2019, the company quietly withdrew its slogan “free and always will be,” and now Meta’s ad revenue is dropping for the first time since becoming public in 2012.

Meta Verified is currently being rolled out in Australia and New Zealand before being expanded to the United States and other countries. It’s unclear how Mark Zuckerberg plans to charge for the service in countries where customers can’t afford to pay $12 per month, or in cash-based economies where users may have fewer options for sending money to Meta.

Meta has also come under fire for placing large bets on the metaverse, a virtual reality realm that Zuckerberg hopes will be the next frontier in online gaming. Investors punished the firm last year, but the stock has since recovered some ground in 2023.

Meta Verified will be cheaper on the web than on mobile applications because to fees taken by Apple on the iPhone and Google on smartphones running the Android system. During the testing time, the company does not expect to earn much money from the service, but it is part of Meta’s diversification efforts.

Meta is not alone in making the switch to premium plans. Other social media networks, ranging from Reddit to Snapchat and Twitter, have developed similar compensated schemes. Platforms are fighting for users and influencers, but some analysts say that Meta Verified offers are “a strange mix” and may not be worth the money.