Meta’s moving to the next stage of its paid verification testing, with a new experiment that will see some Instagram users able to filter their main and Reels feeds to posts from “Meta Verifed” users only.

Instagram verified feed

As you can see in this example, some users are now able to access a new, dedicated stream of content from Meta Verified users only, which presumably only includes profiles that have paid for verification under Meta’s subscription scheme, as opposed to all verified accounts.

Meta also recently expanded its paid verification option to brand accounts as well, broadening the pool of content for this stream. Though why any regular user would want to see only a stream of accounts that have paid for exposure, I’m not entirely clear.

Conceptually, paid verification could help to deprioritize bot accounts, as per X’s “X Premium” initiative, which now sees paid accounts get higher ranking in reply streams, ostensibly as a means to push down bots and spam profiles, and enhance engagement.

But really, the higher ranking of comments is actually a lure to get more people paying to use the app. Which hasn’t really worked thus far on X, while on Meta, its Meta Verified offering is reportedly seeing good take-up, though the logic behind switching to a Meta Verified only feed for users seems pretty fuzzy.

Is it so you can discover more brand accounts? I mean, the best brands you’re likely to come in-stream across anyway, as the algorithm will highlight engaging content, and there are already paid promotions for the same purpose.

Is it to discover paying creators? If they need to pay for amplification, are they really the best creators to follow?

Mostly, it just seems like a stream of ads, in effect.

I don’t know, I understand the value from a Meta Verified subscriber perspective, in potentially making it easier for users to find them, via a dedicated feed that’ll better highlight their profiles specifically. I’m just not sure that the value is as clear for regular users.

But it will give Meta another element to add into its Meta Verified offering, and maybe it will increase engagement with Meta Verified accounts as a result.

I maintain that selling verification erodes the value that it purports to provide. But if creators and brands are willing to pay, maybe there is a business model in there somewhere, as a supplementary income stream for the company.

If you’re currently paying for Meta Verified, it’ll be interesting to see if/how this impacts your exposure. And if it is successful, Meta will no doubt trumpet those results in a few months time, as a means to drive more Meta Verified take-up.

But based on this experiment alone, I wouldn’t be rushing to sign-up for the program till then.   

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