In the past month, three social media giants, Twitter, Snapchat and Meta (for Instagram), have introduced paid verification subscriptions. Yes, that’s right, you now have to pay for a blue tick and the reception of this introduction has been as mixed as you can imagine.
Last month, in the US alone, Meta launched Meta Verified, a $15 per month subscription that allows Instagram and Facebook users to get a blue verification badge on their accounts.Buying the service on the web will cost you $11.99 per month and $14.99 per month if purchased on an iOS or Android device. The cost for premium features varies by platform. In contrast to Twitter Blue, which is $8 per month, Instagram and Facebook users who are already verified will not have to pay to maintain their checkmark status with Meta Verified.
In addition, Twitter is now charging businesses $1,000 a month to maintain their gold checkmark verification badges, which it introduced in December and replaced the blue checkmarks used by businesses in the past, as well as an additional $50 monthly for each affiliated sub-account.
Hannah Kling is an influencer who creates healthy recipe content for her roughly 211,000 followers on Instagram. While Kling is not a fan of the new verification subscription model that Instagram recently rolled out, she subscribed to the verification anyway. Why? Kling has been hacked before and was won over by promises from Meta (the owner of Instagram and Facebook) to protect users under the verification system from potential impersonators and the ability to contact a real, live person at Meta should a problem arise with her account.
With this trend on the rise, many marketers and content creators see it as a way for the platforms to diversify monetization offerings beyond advertising, though many wonder whether social media platforms will remain free to users.
Some smaller influencers are seeing this introduction as a good thing. Paying for a blue tick could be a way to access features previously reserved for those who had been verified — which could help them to be taken more seriously. No longer will creators need a large audience to get that blue check validation. A blue tick for these creators could be a great way to help level-up brand and influencer partnerships across the board and instil even more trust.
On the other hand, others feel that the ability to purchase a blue tick makes it all the less desirable and over time will decrease its leverage.
Another issue is that this subscription model, which may become standard, could result in an over-saturation of paid social media platforms as content creators will have to decide which social media platforms they wish to pay for verification.
“I’m worried about the fact that more people can be influencers and everybody can be an influencer and it just dilutes the pool and it makes it harder for content creators to kind of stand out,” said Courtney Bagby, CEO and founder of Little Red Management, a branding and social media partnership agency. Bagby pointed out that due to the constant Instagram algorithm changes, posts from content creators who are not verified could get lost in the shuffle as opposed to influencers and brands who have the verification subscription. Bagby also publishes her content on her Instagram page.