Meta will trial a new subscription service for Facebook and Instagram users in Australia, at a cost of just under $25 per month.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the trial of Meta Verified on Monday morning, with Australia and New Zealand to be the first testing grounds for the service.
The monthly subscription service will provide Facebook and Instagram users with a blue badge verification, access to account support and boosted visibility.
At $24.99 per month on iOS and Android and $19.99 per month on the web, it is significantly more expensive than similar subscription offerings from Meta’s rivals, including Twitter and Snapchat.
Zuckerberg said the main feature of the paid subscription will be account verification.
“This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.
A blog post expanding on the service squarely aimed it at content creators on Facebook and Instagram.
“Meta wants to make it easier for creators and interested individuals to establish a presence so they can focus on building their communities on Facebook or Instagram,” the Meta blog post said.
Paying Facebook or Instagram users will be able to have a blue verification badge on their profile if they provide the service with a government ID that matches their profile name and photo. They will also receive proactive account protection, and access to exclusive stickers for Instagram Stories and Facebook Reels, along with 100 free stars per month to give to other users.
Meta staff will be proactively monitoring the verified accounts to ensure they are not impersonating someone else.
“Just as Meta does in every product launch, having the right protections in place from the very beginning was one of its guiding principles in developing Meta Verified,” the blog post said.
“To help prevent impersonation, Meta has built a series of checks before, during and after a user applies for a Meta Verified subscription.”
To join Meta Verified, a user must be at least 18 years old and have a valid government ID. The service will not initially be available for businesses on the platforms.
For a Facebook or Instagram user on a smartphone, a subscription to Meta Verified will set them back just under $300 per year. It is more expensive than a subscription to a range of streaming platforms, such as Netflix or Stan.
A number of other social media companies have launched subscription offerings recently, and Meta’s is among the most expensive now.
Under new CEO Elon Musk, Twitter launched its Blue subscription offering. At a cost of $19 per month on iOS and $13 on the web, Twitter users can receive a blue verification tick, along with early access to select new features.
Snapchat+ offers users “exclusive, experimental and pre-release features” at a cost of $5.99 per month.
Messaging app Telegram launched its own paid offering recently too, with Telegram Premium costing $7.49 per month. A subscription lands a user doubled limits, 4GB file uploads, faster downloads, exclusive stickers and reactions and improved chat management.
The money-making scheme comes after Meta recently announced that 11,000 staff would be laid off late last year, with 2023 to be the “year of efficiency” according to Zuckerberg.
It came after the founder and CEO admitted he “got this wrong” by going all-in on a metaverse strategy which has so far cost the company $23 billion.
Meta is also potentially on the hook for a $1.1 billion pay-out in damages to settle privacy claims based on its data sharing partnership with UK firm Cambridge Analytica.