Until recently, that coveted sky blue checkmark on one’s social media profile told the world they were the real deal. It verified that the account was active, notable, and authentic. It established trust. This was a way for the social media masses to know they were reading factual news from an established publication, learning about product launches from your favorite brands, or following the real Selena Gomez rather than an imposter.
But since Elon Musk took over Twitter late last year, the rules of the social media game have been reconfigured. Check out our blog on all things Twitter—In short, anyone can now acquire a blue checkmark just by paying a monthly fee.
When the new program first launched, chaos ensued with “verified” parody accounts popping up left and right (PepsiCo, Eli Lilly, and President Joe Biden were just a few to be impersonated). Since then, Twitter has cracked down on parody accounts by establishing basic ground rules.
More recently, Meta (Facebook and Instagram) has joined the pay-for-verification bandwagon in favor of an opt-in subscription system—Meta Verified. Here’s a breakdown of the new and “improved” verification subscription models for both Twitter and Instagram:
How to Get Verification
Purchase a Twitter Blue subscription in the sidebar menu.
18 or older.
18 or older.
Type of Account
Must be a real person, registered business, or entity.
*Right now, individual profiles are eligible for verification, not pages or businesses.
*At this time, Meta will only verify accounts whose profile name matches their government ID.
- Account must be older than 30 days.
- Have a confirmed phone number.
- Display a name and photo.
- Have no recent photo, name, or username changes.
- Have no signs of being misleading or deceptive.
- Have no signs of engaging in platform manipulation or spam.
- Enable 2-factor authentication.
- Users who were previously verified (“Legacy”) will have to pay for Twitter Blue or lose their checkmark.
- Must be “authentic, unique, complete, and notable.”
- Profile must align with application.
- Enable 2-factor authentication must be enabled.
- Meet minimum activity requirements.
- Users who are already verified will not have to pay for Meta verification.
- Exclusive features such as stickers and stars to support other creators.
- Proactive account protection, impersonation monitoring, and 2-factor authentication.
- Increased reach and visibility. *Right now, this perk is only being tested in Australia and New Zealand.
- Direct account support from a Meta customer service specialist.
**Note that though both part of Meta, Facebook and Instagram require separate subscriptions for verification.
While Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook all contend that the new pay-to-play model won’t affect the integrity of the platforms, we’re skeptical. If you’re a big company that can shell out a few extra hundred dollars each year, then go for it. But if you’re a burgeoning brand, a little blue checkmark isn’t going to make or break your success, especially now that the icon carries less weight than it did a year ago.
Our take? These pay-to-play “verification” ploys are an attempt for the platforms to take in even more revenue (and remind us of the control they have over our day-to-day lives). Additionally, Meta Verified is still in “test mode” and we don’t know the impact these subscriptions will have on brand success. Instead of following the crowd and investing even more money into your social media, wait until the dust settles to make an informed decision that will support your brand in the long run.
That being said, if you are an established brand and the threat of impersonators is high, there may be more reason to consider paying for these services—both to have the status symbol and the added security protection and customer service support on hand.
Looking for more guidance as you navigate the ever-changing social media landscape? Book a discovery call to learn how Media À La Carte can set you up for success.