Meta & Twitter Have Become Subscription Businesses. Is This The Decline Of Free Social Media Access?


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Have you ever heard the phrase ‘if you’re not paying for the product, you probably are the product’?

It may have slipped your attention that Twitter has started to charge users for access to their ‘premium’ version. Twitter Blue allows all qualifying users to get a blue checkmark. The criteria no longer requires you to be a notable figure. You simply need to be active and genuine, and be able to prove that with two-factor authentication.

Meta shortly followed suit. As is the case with many new developments, industry giants don’t wait long before trying to outdo each other. Meta Verified will be an essential subscription for those who wish to have a verified blue tick on Instagram and Facebook.

This is an interesting development in the online world. Verification ticks were originally created to distinguish real public figures from impersonators. This was to protect users, making them less prone to falling for scams. With this in mind, what does paid verification mean for the future of social media?

The Benefits

To become verified, users have to provide their mobile phone numbers. This will be checked to ensure that users are who they say they are. Any changes to the account name, profile photo or username will trigger a new verification, so nobody can cheat the system. Social media users will be completely accountable for everything that they say online, which should lead to less spam and abuse.

Twitter’s website says that Twitter Blue is being rolled out to reduce interactions with fake accounts. They hope that this will lead to higher quality conversations on Twitter and less spam.

social media

Meta seem to be hoping for the same outcome. They have said that Meta Verified users will need to provide a government ID and a profile picture which must include their face. They’ll also be monitoring impersonator accounts, who often target high-profile users.

The Drawbacks

For many users, paying a fee for a service that was previously free isn’t ideal. Although the new version of the verification tick offers many benefits, it does come with a couple of drawbacks. Some users have been targets of abuse for ‘buying’ their verification. This is unlikely to continue causing issues as the number of subscribers increases. However, as we are still in the early stages, some users believe that the blue tick has become devalued.

When Twitter Blue initially rolled out, there were instances of people creating verified impostor accounts that spread misinformation. This issue has now been resolved, so shouldn’t cause any issues in future.

Social Media Addiction

Meta requires you to submit a valid government ID and your legal name must be on the account. If you use an alias, you won’t be accepted. This could be problematic for people who perform under stage names, among many other groups of people who could be put at risk for displaying their legal name.

Does This Mean That Social Media Will Be Subscribers-Only?

Blue Tick Verification

Probably not. Many of the features that the subscription models offer will mostly benefit heavy-users and businesses. Meta have said that subscribers will get increased visibility and reach, which could make it a requirement for anyone who wants to start generating business from their social media accounts.

Those who choose not to subscribe shouldn’t see any difference in their experience on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Right now, Meta Verified won’t be available to businesses, but it will be in future. Users who want to sign up will need to pay a monthly fee for their subscriptions. There are separate subscriptions for mobile and web users. The minimum requirements are having an active account and being over 18, so it’s open to any genuine users.

If you want to get a blue check for your business’s social media, it won’t be long before you can become a subscriber. It will be interesting to see how this new development changes the social media marketing landscape in 2023 and beyond.


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