Facebook Parent Plans to Sell ‘Meta Verified’ Accounts

Meta — the parent company of Facebook and Instagram — wants power users to start paying for some of its sites’ features, taking a page out of Twitter’s playbook in charging for verified blue check marks.

A new subscription service called Meta Verified will become available this week in Australia and New Zealand and will soon be expanded to other countries, Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s chief executive, said Sunday in posts on Facebook and Instagram. For $11.99 a month (or $14.99 if purchased on Apple’s operating system, iOS), users will get a blue badge and direct access to customer support. The company described the effort as a “gradual test.”

“This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote. To become eligible for Meta Verified, users will have to submit a government ID to prove their identity, and subscribers will be allowed to use only their legal names on their profile pages, the company said. Subscribers will receive “extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.

The service will be expanded to the United States in the next few weeks, a Meta spokeswoman said. She declined to name other countries in which Meta Verified will become available. Facebook and Instagram accounts must be enrolled separately in Meta Verified — meaning that those who want blue badges on both sites must pay at least $24 a month — but Meta plans to eventually offer bundled subscriptions, she said.

Those who already have verified accounts on Instagram and Facebook will be able to retain them at no cost, for now, Meta said in a blog post. The company described the new paid service as a way for it to “help up-and-coming creators grow their presence and build community faster.”

Meta’s subscription move follows Twitter’s push under its new owner, Elon Musk, to charge users $8 a month for blue check marks through its Twitter Blue service. Twitter said last week that it would soon disable two-factor authentication through text messages for users who are not paid Twitter Blue subscribers.

Meta, which relies heavily on advertising revenue, has lately been cutting costs and hunting for new income streams — even as it continues to invest billions in its shift to the so-called metaverse. As Facebook reported its latest quarterly earnings this month, Mr. Zuckerberg declared his 2023 management theme to be “the ‘Year of Efficiency,’” and said his company was “focused on becoming a stronger and more nimble organization.”

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