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Users are criticizing Meta for its requirement for its recently-launched Meta Verified: legal names. While this detail seems normal for some, individuals who like to stay incognito for their work are expressing disapproval.
Meta Verified was launched last month and costs $14.99/month for mobile and $11.99/month for the web (only Facebook access). It is now available in Australia and New Zealand but not yet in the US. The subscription verification program covers the company’s Instagram and Facebook platforms. Meta promises “increased visibility” and support for the program alongside “impersonation protections.” The downside of this, however, is the specific requirements to get the verified badge, which confirms “you’re the real you and that your account has been authenticated with a government ID and a selfie video.”
Despite the explicit purpose of the subscription (which is to prevent impersonation), privacy advocates and people like sex workers and others who don’t wish to divulge their true identity online lambast the requirements and the lack of an option to change their name. Concerned individuals say this translates to doxxing, resulting in the possible unearthing of their other information (e.g., address and numbers) once their followers learn who they truly are.
The requirement also contradicts the situation of other creators who have already been verified by Meta in different ways, such as when users apply to monetize their account, wherein ID and other documents are also requirements. Nonetheless, changes are expected soon to “ease” the requirements, according to a Meta spokesperson’s statement to Tech Crunch. Specifically, the spokesperson shared that the company might pursue a “secure solution” without asking users to submit IDs that exactly match their profile names for their accounts.