Following in Elon Musk-owned Twitter’s footsteps, it looks like Instagram is working on a paid verification feature, making it easier for users to get the ‘coveted’ blue tick mark on their profiles.
Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a), a mobile developer and reverse engineer, found code in the Instagram app that explicitly references “paid blue badge,” alongside a new subscription model. As shared by TechCrunch, the same references also appear in Facebook’s latest build, indicating that the subscription or the paid verification might be a wider product that would roll out across Meta-owned platforms.
#Instagram is working on a subscription plan which includes the blue badge 👀
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) February 2, 2023
Paluzzi’s has a track record of spotting new Instagram features before they launch, including features like in-app scheduling, and the ability to share posts, Reels and locations through QR codes. Regarding paid verification, Paluzzi shared in-app screenshots of the code he found with TechCrunch, and it clearly contains code referencing “IG_NME_PAID_BLUE_BADGE_IDV” and “FB_NME_PAID_BLUE_BADGE_IDV.”
Paluzzi also notes that other than the subtle code references, there is nothing else in the latest builds of Instagram and Facebook that might indicate an upcoming paid verification feature. Currently, the blue badge is only given to high-profile individuals, celebrities, and global brands or entities, which has led to a multimillion-dollar market for verification through nefarious means.
Twitter’s initial rollout of its paid verification system didn’t come without problems, most importantly, impersonation issues. It would be interesting to see how Instagram manages to roll out its paid verification and if users would want to pay for it.