And here we go. In an effort to increase authenticity and (let’s be honest) diversify revenue opportunities, a test Meta Verified subscription product will begin in New Zealand and Australia this week.
Let’s dig into what this actually is, some confusion about who is eligible, my issues with it, and whether I’ll ever consider a verified subscription.
For Creators Only (For Now)
To be eligible for the Meta Verified test, you need to be a creator with prior posting history in New Zealand or Australia who is at least 18 years old.
Now, there is some confusion (at least I’m confused) about whether a “creator” can be a personal brand on a Facebook page and be eligible. We’ll get to that later.
A Meta Verified subscription will cost you $11.99 (US) per month from web or $14.99 per month on iOS and Android. Yeah, I don’t know why anyone would sign up via iOS or Android.
The subscription bundle includes the following benefits:
1. Verified badge. This isn’t as simple as paying to get verified (not mentioning any platforms). Your account name and photo must match your governmental ID.
2. Proactive account protection against impersonation. Apparently this doesn’t happen now for verified accounts? Or it’s better somehow? Or maybe it’s just that anyone can get the same protection as currently verified accounts, but you’ll need to pay for it.
3. Access to account support. That’s right, real people. Cut through the red tape.
4. Increased visibility and reach. You’ll show up more prominently in search, comments, and recommendations. How noticeable this increase is will vary depending on your audience size and topics.
5. Exclusive features. This appears to be related to stickers and stars on Facebook and Instagram Stories and Reels. Could be access to other features, but these aren’t specified in the announcement.
Creators with Business Pages?
Now, here’s where it gets a bit confusing and where media messaging is inconsistent with the official announcement from Meta…
Meta notes that this is for Creators only. Businesses are not eligible for the test, but the eventual plan includes them.
But… Does that mean that only “creators” who utilize user profiles are eligible? What about creators who set up Facebook pages?
This may seem like semantics, but Meta never mentions “user” in their announcement. And their documentation about becoming a creator mentions “turning on professional mode on your Facebook profile or by creating a separate Page.”
We know that businesses aren’t eligible for the test, but it’s not clear if personal brands (creators) who set up a Facebook page are. Maybe?
The final section of Meta’s announcement does repeatedly mention profiles and your birthday, which would be unique to a user.
But since Meta’s own definition of a creator includes personal brands with pages, I can’t say for sure if such people are excluded.
My interpretation: If you are a personal brand with a Facebook page that utilizes your actual name (that is the same as your governmental name), you are likely eligible.
I’m hedging with “likely,” but I’d love clarification from Meta on this.
No Changes to Accounts Already Verified
Of course, you may have an account that was previously verified without paying for anything. No worries, Meta says. No changes to your account while Meta tests and learns.
Wait, no changes? Yeah, no changes. That basically means you don’t get the benefits of the Meta Verified subscription because you aren’t paying for it.
I’m not really sure what will eventually happen to accounts like mine that are verified under the old system. Different badge? Get some benefits? Forced to pay?
I’ve gotta think that the verification will stand since these accounts did go through a rigorous verification process. But I’m sure they’ll (we’ll) never receive the full benefits of a subscription without paying
There’s Good and Bad Here
Look, I don’t love this, but some of it makes sense.
First, it gives more people the ability to get verified. That’s long been a struggle. And the more people who get verified (actually verified with governmental ID), the more authentic the platform becomes.
Second, it’s good to provide priority access to better support, a huge issue with the plaform currently. This should have been an option 10 years ago. But it’s also an admission that support ain’t great for the rest of us.
Third, Meta needs to diversify instead of relying so heavily on advertising. This is a step in that direction.
But, some bad…
You’re going to get some complaints from advertisers who spend some big budgets but still get low-quality support. If these new subscribers get superior support to advertisers, that’s a problem.
There is bound to be some confusion, at least initially. Whenever you change the meaning of something, that’s going to be the case. While “verified” still means that the account was verified (which is important), you don’t need to have any level of notoriety to get verified. Some will take advantage of that.
This also has the potential to tick off those who were previously verified, especially if such accounts (eh hem) aren’t handled delicately.
This at least feels cleaner than the Twitter Blue product, which doesn’t require governmental ID account verification. Meta Verified extends the original purpose of the checkmark, which is to make sure people are who they say they are and prevent impersonation.
Overall, this is a mixed bag that could become more attractive if Meta handles it the right way.
Will I Do This?
At the moment, I don’t think I’d be eligible anyway. Even if personal brand pages are eligible, the “Jon Loomer Digital” name may not be since it’s a business name.
This also kinda sucks for someone who has been verified for the past several years. I assume Meta will eventually force me to remain verified.
But the other issue is regarding the benefits of being verified up until now. I still see pages impersonating mine. I report them. I don’t know how much it matters that I’m verified during that process.
I also have doubts that I currently get better support than anyone else because my page is verified under the old system.
So, you want me to pay for this new verification? Don’t mind me. I’m going to resist for now. I’m bitter.
What do you think about Meta Verified? Will you pay for it?
Let me know in the comments below!
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