Purchasing Popularity: Verification Subscriptions
Written by: Danielle Gazda
For years, brands and content creators have worked hard to build loyal communities and notable social media accounts in order to earn their verifications. The elusive and exclusive blue tick of verification across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter is now a purchasable commodity. It’s part of a growing trend toward paid social media subscriptions.
The first to provide a subscription service was actually Snapchat. In August of 2022, they announced Snapchat+, an “exclusive, experimental” service available for $3.99 a month. This innovative idea is decently priced and meant for the most consistent and passionate users of the photo-sharing app. Some of the exclusive features of Snapchat+ include various icons, notification settings, the Story Timer, and a badge. This exclusivity has produced moderate results for Snapchat with 2.5 million subscribers since the announcement in August 2022 to February 2023. This is compared to its 750 million active users and 375 million daily users.
Other apps have taken note of this success and have begun to integrate subscriptions of their own, providing additional incentives and services for users — and an alternate source of income.
Elon Musk announced in a tweet on Nov. 1, 2022, that blue checkmark verification would be purchasable through a Twitter Blue subscription for $8 a month. This announcement came with mixed, but primarily negative, reactions. Public figures would now be obliged to purchase Twitter Blue to maintain their verification, while Musk cited this as a way to “give Twitter a revenue stream to reward content creators.”
Twitter did release information on the updated Verification Requirements. It addressed some of the concerns and outlined the grandfathering of accounts that were previously verified through the original system. The company also specified that accounts must be non-deceptive with verification revocation a possibility for those who violate subscription policies. No matter the rules and criteria put in place, a verification no longer carries the weight it used to.
Now, three months after Musk’s announcement, Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that Meta platforms will also be offering a verification subscription. It’s being marketed as a safety net for creators. Meta’s official announcement describes the program as “a subscription bundle on Instagram and Facebook that includes a verified badge that authenticates your account with government ID, proactive account protection, access to account support, and increased visibility and reach.”
Users can verify their accounts so Meta can work harder to remove bots, as well as fake and impersonated accounts — though reporting offenders has not been fruitful in the past. Creators are already voicing discontent, as they’ll be forced to purchase Meta Verified to protect their real public accounts.
Note that because this system is based on verifying an individual with a driver’s license or similar document, as of now the subscription is not available to businesses.
While these changes don’t directly affect personal accounts, they do affect brand and creator accounts. It’s important to weigh the positives and negatives for your brand when considering a purchase of these verification subscriptions. They do come with other useful tools, like the ability to edit posts, longer tweets, etc.
Will you be purchasing verifications for your brand when available?