After looking at Twitter’s struggle with impersonation problems when Elon Musk relaunched Twitter Blue, Mark Zuckerberg is putting guardrails before launching Meta Verified.
Earlier this week, the company announced its subscription plan, which is set to be available for users in New Zealand and Australia in the next few days. If you pay for Meta Verified, you won’t be able to change your profile name, username, date of birth, or photo. The company will block any such efforts. If you need to change any of the above you will need to unsubscribe and apply again.
“At this time, Meta Verified will only support your real name on your profile. Once your profile is verified, you can’t change the profile name, username, date of birth, or photo on your profile without going through the Meta Verified subscription and verifications application process again,” the company said in a blog post.
A Meta spokesperson told TechCrunch that the tech giant is working on a “fast follow feature” that will let users change any of the above through a verification process without needing to cancel the subscription.
What’s more, to subscribe to Meta Verified a user needs to be at least 18 years old, have two-factor authentication turned on, and submit a government ID that matches their photo on Facebook or Instagram. In addition to that, the user will need to have minimum activity requirements such as posting in the recent past. The company said it will publish detailed requirements when the paid plan becomes available this week.
Meta also shared some details on its plan for the verification badge. It said that at the moment, “the blue badge will look the same as we evolve the meaning of the badge to focus on authenticity.” The company said it will display the follower count of legacy verified accounts in more places to differentiate them from Meta Verified accounts.
For example, if two accounts have the same name, you will see the follower count of the legacy verified account in the search. It’s not clear how easy it is to spot for an average user who might be skimming through screens quickly. Users might also not see a follower count while going through posts. It could lead to some confusion between a Meta Verified account for a popular account. We have already seen that on Twitter, despite the social network putting in boundaries to avoid impersonation, bad-faith actors have found loopholes in the system.
Meta Verified program’s prime offering is an increase in reach for paid users. Combined with verification, it could cause a lot of chaos including amplifying hate speech or misinformation. So it’s going to be important to track how users react to the new subscription product in New Zealand and Australia.