What to know about Twitter Blue and Meta Verified

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Twitter launched “Twitter Blue” in December 2022 and now Meta is following suite with “Meta Verified” for Facebook and Instagram. Users who pay for these subscriptions will have the benefit of a verified checkmark or “blue tick”, something previously reserved for celebrities, authors and politicians to signify their legitimacy. This feature has now been extended and comes with additional pros and cons. Here is everything you need to know.

What are the benefits?

In addition to verified status, Twitter Blue comes with other benefits that include access to exclusive features, like the ability to edit published tweets, SMS two-factor authentication, tweet up to 4000 characters, upload longer videos, customise application icons and navigation, as well as themes.

Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Meta Verified offers improved security and authenticity, as Twitter has struggled with catfish accounts in the past, which affected true accounts’ reputations. Meta Verified comes with a verified badge, monitoring for impersonators, live support, and boosted visibility and reach. For both Twitter and Meta, the exact benefits of their verified subscriptions are subject to change, and we are likely to see new features being added or changed in the future.

Primarily, these verified subscriptions reduce the risk of catfishing and give subscribers recognisable authenticity and authority that elevates their online presence. For both Twitter Blue and Meta Verified, subscribers must meet the eligibility criteria to maintain the integrity of the verified badge or checkmark. The criteria includes:

  • Being over 18
  • Having a completed profile
  • Being active on your account
  • An established account that is older than 3 months
  • Being linked to a legitimate phone number
  • Not engaging in spam or platform manipulation
  • No recent changes to your username, handle, or profile picture. 
  • Moreover, Meta Verified requires you to submit your ID.

While these new services promise improved security for users, they are not immune to criticism.

What are some common critiques?

For some people, the benefits of these platforms are simply not worth the cost. Twitter Blue ranges between R145 to R200 per month. And the reality is, most people are not willing to pay that amount for custom themes and to display their NFTs. 

Furthermore, there is significant criticism aimed at Meta and Twitter for their decision to monetise security features. The argument is that security and identity verification are crucial for all users of these platforms and should not be restricted to only those who can afford to pay for it. The introduction of verified subscriptions incentivises these platforms to remove necessary features for all users to reserve them for verified users alone. 

SMS two-factor authentication, an incredibly effective security measure, being reserved for Twitter Blue subscribers is undoubtedly just the beginning. “Offering enhanced security for a fee may potentially pave the way for the next generation of paying for default security in our apps,” said Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO at ESET Southern Africa.

“Scams such as account impersonation are rife on social media and cause a headache for both users and companies due to the very limited security and protection on offer,” explained van Vlaanderen, adding that Meta’s suggested solution of requesting government issue identification isn’t as wise as many may think. “Although at first glance it sounds like a safety measure, this causes potential extra problems as this held data will need extremely robust security due to the added pressures of attackers wanting to get their hands on it.” 

Subscriptions like these are being critiqued as cash grabs that leave many people vulnerable to identity theft and reduced cybersecurity. Therefore, it is essential that users know what they are at risk of and how best to guard themselves against threats. Large social media platforms do not always have the best interests of their users at heart, and making security measures an exclusive service reflects that. 

The impacts of subscriptions like Twitter Blue and Meta Verified remain to be seen, but keeping tabs on your security risks and safety measures on the platforms you use is just as important as ever.