New Meta subscription the service looks pretty familiar. For $11.99 to $14.99 per month, Instagram and Facebook users get a blue “verified” mark, access to better security features, and more visibility in search. Their comments will also be prioritized.
The package has strong echoes of Twitter’s subscription service Blue, launched under new owner Elon Musk, which has been actively trying to find ways to monetize its platform — most recently by telling users they wouldn’t be able to use text-based two-factor authentication if they didn’t subscribe .
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Meta Verified in a post on his Instagram feed on February 19, saying the service, which will be rolled out first in Australia and New Zealand, is “about increasing the authenticity and security of our services.”
Analysts say the move, while not entirely unusual for Meta, hints at a lack of innovation at the social media giant, which has laid off more than 11,000 employees since late last year and spent billions advancing into the meta universe, a technology with no clear business model.
“Meta has always had copycats—Instagram’s Reels is just one of a long list of prominent examples—so it’s no surprise that Zuckerberg is trying to do the same after seeing Twitter shy away from offering core features as a premium service. ,” says Tama Leaver, Professor of Internet Studies at Curtin University in Australia. “Meta’s move to copy Twitter’s subscription model shows a clear lack of new ideas… Meta has shed staff and is spending money building a meta universe that no one seems to care about right now.”
While Meta emphasizes the security aspects of its subscription product, the fact that subscribers will gain more visibility on the company’s platforms means significant changes for users.
Twitter’s attempts to force users to pay for features, including more promotion through its algorithms, have been met with widespread criticism, with many threatening to leave the platform, although there is no clear data on how many people have followed suit.
However, Snapchat and Discord have also introduced paid subscription tiers for users without a similar level of outrage, suggesting that the dislike of Twitter Blue may have more to do with Musk himself and broader concerns about the platform.
“Meta has seen Snapchat, Discord and Twitter launch their own subscription plans that give power users extra features or perks,” says social media analyst Matt Navarro, who first reported on Meta’s change. The idea of paying for features that used to be free has started to become normalized, he says. “The risk is reduced for them in terms of whether it’s going to be a success.”
Despite this, Navarro admits that he will not be buying verified status on the Meta. “I don’t think it’s worth it,” he says.
It’s unclear how much money Meta could raise through the audit. Twitter is struggling to sell subscriptions to its Blue service, with The Information reporting that the platform has fewer than 300,000 followers worldwide, which would bring in less than 1 percent of the $3 billion Musk wants to make the company. The Meta family of apps, including Instagram, Facebook and WhatApp, has nearly 10 times more monthly users than Twitter.