The Meta Verified badge proves that social media companies don’t know their own users

Cell phones on college campus – Group of friends looking at cell phones and sharing content on social media platforms – Youth, friendship and technology concept

I hate to admit it, but I do have a license plate.

Before you judge, know this: It came with the vehicle. I actually love it – it’s fun to talk to people about how I came up with the custom license plate and how I bought the car in the first place. I doubt I’d ever pay extra for something like that, given it’s such a status symbol.

I have the same view about social media verified badges. Recently, Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram) announced a new Meta Verified program where you pay around $12 to let the world know you’re not just one of the mindless minions.

The company is rolling it out overseas for now, and it bears a striking resemblance to the Twitter Blue Badge I tested not long ago.

Like this vanity, being who you say you are is mostly a status symbol. Even the Meta Verified benefits remind me of Twitter Blue. Your profile will show up more often in searches and it’s a way to ensure that nobody can impersonate you. According to the announcement, you will also get priority customer service.

‚ÄúSome of the most common requests we receive from creators are for broader access to verification and account support, as well as more features to increase visibility and reach. For the past year, we’ve been thinking about how to unlock access to these features through a paid plan,” the company said in the announcement. Apparently, you also get exclusive access to new features.

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All you need is some government-issued ID and… some cash.

But it’s all a bit much.

Like someone blindfolded in a dark room looking for a light switch, both Meta and Twitter are on the hunt for additional revenue as advertisers begin to question the value of reaching new customers through these platforms.

The verification subscription shows that social media companies don’t really know their own users. The free apps offer some value, but there’s no point in paying extra for services that should be included for free.

For starters, if there’s a vanity badge on social media, it should be something you deserve or need to prove in some way that you deserve it. Simply paying for the privilege seems to defeat the purpose. One of the main benefits of the paid service is that you can talk to a real human about your Facebook and Instagram issues. I wonder if it would be better to develop a useful product that doesn’t require so much support? Or provide support for everyone like most companies do?

I mentioned that before, but we gave up the vanity mindset a long time ago. We dont care. Since Klout walked the path of the dinosaurs, we’ve all realized that a badge of prestige is about as important as winning a free shake at DQ.

To me it sounds like a desperate attempt to get a few unsuspecting users to pay meta money for something that makes no real difference in your life – virtual or physical. Now the question is, can they find out what people really want?

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John Brandon is a well-known journalist who has published over 15,000 articles on social media, technology, leadership, mentoring and many other topics. Before beginning his writing career in 2001, he was Information Design Director at Best Buy Corporation. Follow him on Twitter:

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