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Meta starts selling Instagram and Facebook verification in the UK

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the new feature was about ‘increasing authenticity and security across our services’  (AFP via Getty Images)
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the new feature was about ‘increasing authenticity and security across our services’ (AFP via Getty Images)

Instagram owner Meta is rolling out its paid verification service in the UK.

The feature grants Brits a coveted blue badge on Instagram and Facebook for £9.99 per month.

At launch, the service is limited to individuals aged 18 and over who registered their interest. Once you join the waitlist, Meta will notify you when verification is available to purchase.

Like Twitter’s Blue subscription, Meta’s service offers a range of benefits to paying users, including account security and customer support tools. The social media giant is also promising to boost your account’s visibility, which could net you more Instagram followers.

However, there is another way to get an Instagram blue tick without coughing up a monthly fee. Read on to find out all the ways you can get verified on Instagram.

How to get verified on Instagram

If you want an Instagram blue tick, you’ll have to start by registering your interest.

You can do this by visiting the official Meta Verified website, selecting either Instagram or Facebook, and then joining the waitlist.

Once you reach the front of the queue, you’ll receive a notification telling you to sign up via your account settings.

There are some eligibility requirements you should be aware of before signing up. Firstly, you have to be at least 18 to get a verified subscription. Currently, the service is available to only individuals, meaning business account holders can’t apply.

Your account will also need to meet certain conditions to qualify for verification. These include using your full name and a profile picture that features your face. Meta will check this information by asking you to provide a government-issued ID that matches the name on your profile and photo.

In addition, Meta says that you’ll need to meet a threshold on posting activity.

How to request verification on Instagram

Instagram first introduced verification in 2014 for high-profile users at risk of being impersonated. The platform decided who to verify through an unknown selection process — and later allowed users to request a blue tick in 2018.

To apply, head to your profile page, tap the menu button on the top right, select “settings”, “account” and then “request verification”.

You’ll be asked to enter your full name and provide identification (such as a government-issued photo ID or official business documentation). Follow the instructions and then tap submit.

How does Instagram choose who gets verified?

Instagram looks at several factors when deciding which accounts to verify free of charge.

The biggest hindrance for the majority of users is the company’s notability criteria. These say that an account must represent a “well-known, highly searched for person, brand or entity”.

So, you may be out of luck if you aren’t a public figure, celebrity or brand with a decent follower count.

One way Instagram checks if you are notable is by reviewing accounts that have received coverage in the press. However, it does not count paid or sponsored media as a reputable source.

In addition, chosen accounts need to represent a real person, registered business or entity.

Based on Instagram’s criteria, you can improve your authenticity by completing your profile. This includes adding a genuine bio, profile photo, setting your account to public so everyone can see your posts, and actively using the app.

Finally, accounts also need to be unique. If you’re merely regurgitating memes and internet jokes, then you won’t get verified. As part of the rules, only one account per person or business can be verified, with exceptions for language-specific accounts.

Instagram states that you can’t change your user name once verified. It says it can rescind the badge at any time if you provide false information in your application or break the rules.

Is Instagram verification worth it?

Meta is the latest social network to launch a subscription service as social media giants seek new ways to earn revenue beyond targeted advertising.

Late last year, Twitter launched its Blue subscription to a lukewarm reception. Initially, fewer than 0.2 per cent of Twitter users, or 290,000 people globally, were reportedly paying for the service. This offers verification and other perks for £8 per month on the web.

Still, Meta has a much bigger user base than Twitter that it can target with premium features. Facebook alone had 2.96 billion monthly users at the last count, while Instagram reportedly hit 2 billion monthly users in 2021.

Ironically, some claim that by opening up verification to everyone, social media companies are devaluing the feature. However, Meta insists the new feature is about creating trust in the accounts people follow.

“Long term, we want to build a subscription offering that’s valuable to everyone, including creators, businesses and our community at large,” Meta said in a blog post. “As part of this vision, we are evolving the meaning of the verified badge so we can expand access to verification and more people can trust the accounts they interact with are authentic.”