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Facebook and Instagram paid verification starts in UK

Facebook parent company Meta has begun rolling out a paid verification service in the UK.

Similar to Elon Musk’s Twitter Blue, the service gives Facebook and Instagram users a blue tick from £9.99 per month.

Subscribers must be at least 18 years old and submit a government ID to qualify.

The feature is already available in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

People who registered interest in Meta Verified will receive a notification when it becomes available to them. It is rolling out to others in the UK in the coming weeks.

Those approved by Meta will get a verified badge, which the tech firm says will give them more protection from impersonation, in part because it will monitor their accounts to check for fakers.

It says verified users will also get “access to a real person” if they have any issue with their account.

Twitter verification

The move comes after Mr Musk implemented the premium Twitter Blue subscription in November 2022.

The service proved controversial at the time as it replaced the previous system, where blue ticks were used to verify that high-profile accounts belonged to the people they claimed to be.

Mr Musk removed what became termed “legacy” verification ticks from account holders on 20 April – reserving the “verified” blue badge for those who had paid for Twitter Blue, and authenticated their phone number.

The blue tick removal process led to mass confusion as high-profile users like Hillary Clinton lost their verification badges and subscribers were able to edit their own username to impersonate them.

Twitter later chose to return blue ticks to a number of celebrities, governments and organisations for free.

Meta Verified introductory message displayed on a screenIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES

Both Facebook and Instagram already have a verification system for notable figures, and Meta does not appear to be planning to scrap this anytime soon.

According to the support pages for the platforms, as well as subscribing to Meta Verified, users can still apply for a verified badge if they are “a public figure, celebrity or brand and meet the account and eligibility requirements”.

The decision to add a paid-for verification system amounts to a change of direction for Facebook and Instagram, which have previously both been free to use in all circumstances since they rose to prominence.

The services have relied on advertising income, which makes up the vast majority of Meta’s revenue.

While both can still be used for free, the decision to add a paid tier which increases prominence is an attempt to find other ways of monetising the platforms.

It comes six months after the company announced 11,000 job losses as a result of what it said was over-investment during the pandemic.

At the time, Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg said he had predicted an increase in the company’s growth but that ultimately had not happened. –