Getting your Facebook or Twitter account verified has been an ever-changing process over the years. As a news social media expert who has worked with social platforms to verify people for more than 15 years, I can claim thousands of account verifications, including Grumpy Cat’s account.

Verification used to be a very subjective process. It often mattered who you knew, or for what company you worked. Now it just requires a credit card.

In February, both social media platforms announced they would start charging users to be verified. This change led to the once-coveted “blue-check” symbol going through major upheavals, including new symbol colors on Twitter.

So what does this mean for your news organization? Let’s look at the different services and options from Facebook and Twitter.

Meta Verified

For $11.99 per month on the web and $14.99 per month on iOS and Android, Meta Verified subscriptions include:

  • A verified badge on Facebook or Instagram.
  • Access to account support for most common issues.
  • Active impersonation monitoring for accounts.
  • Exclusive stickers in your stories and reels.
  • 100 Stars per month to send to your favorite creators (Facebook only).

Important things to note:

  • Meta Verified is available only for individual or professional profiles, not for business pages, profiles or accounts.
  • If you want the blue badge on both Facebook and Instagram, you must pay double the price.
  • You must meet eligibility requirements, including having a government-issued ID matching your profile’s name. This may make it difficult for, as an example, broadcast journalists or anchors who use different on-air names.

For people who were verified before these changes, Meta says to expect no immediate changes as the company tests and learns. And if you still want to be verified without paying, you can do so through your Instagram app if you meet its requirements or through your Facebook account if you meet its requirements.

Additionally, with the launch of Threads, Instagram’s text-based conversation app, you will also have verification on the Threads platform when verified on Instagram.

Twitter Blue

By comparison, for pricing starting at $8 per month or $84 per year, Twitter Blue subscriptions currently include the following:

Important things to note:

For people who were verified prior to these changes, Twitter has removed verification and is no longer accepting applications under the previous criteria (active, notable, and authentic).

Twitter Verified Organizations

If a company or business account wants verification, Twitter offers Twitter Verified Organizations subscriptions for $1,000 monthly for an organization and $50 per month for each additional affiliate. For that price tag, you receive:

  • Verification: Gold and gray checkmarks, square avatars and custom affiliation badges for you and your entity’s main account, spokespeople and subsidiary accounts.
  • Twitter Blue: All the benefits of Twitter Blue mentioned above.
  • Verified Organizations Portal: This lets organizations add and remove affiliated accounts and provides immediate verification status to anyone in their networks who accepts their invitation to affiliate.
  • Affiliations: Affiliates receive a small image of their organization’s Twitter account profile picture next to their name every time they tweet, send a direct message or appear in search.
  • Custom Organization Profile: A new tab on their profile lists all affiliated accounts. This appears next to the Tweets tab and displays any affiliated accounts.
  • Impersonation Defense: Accounts are monitored for changes (including display names, profile photos, and usernames) and flagged for further review if impersonation is detected.
  • Premium Support: Organizations experiencing issues can contact Premium Support for timely support and escalations.
  • Elevated Tweet, DM, and media upload limits: Access to significantly elevated tweet, direct message and media upload rate limits.

Is the price right?

To learn how the services work, I subscribed to Twitter Blue and Meta Verified for Facebook (I am on a waitlist for Instagram). And I am not impressed with either service.

Meta Verified is essentially paying for a check icon and customer service — which is terribly lacking to begin with, and still useless with the extra support.

At least on Twitter, I feel I am getting something for my dollars, even if it is a minimal boost of content with which I interact, or a slew of features that I will never use. It is better than just a blue check mark that means nothing anymore.

Is pay-to-play the right decision?

As social platforms evolve and test revenue models for their services, a number of concerns haven’t yet been addressed. These include:

  • It creates a two-tiered system of users and businesses. Those who can afford to pay for verification will have a higher level of security and visibility, while those who cannot will be disadvantaged. This tiering might affect local and minority media companies the most.
  • It could lead to more impersonation. If verification is no longer seen as a mark of authenticity, it could become easier for impersonators to create fake accounts that look like the real thing. This could lead to increased fraud and abuse on social media.
  • It could lead to more scams. Scammers could create fake verification services that promise to verify accounts for a fee.

Overall, the decision to charge for verification is a complex one with potential benefits and risks for the platforms. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in the long run.