A new reference to Instagram’s code suggests the company may be developing a paid verification feature after a similar system was rolled out on Twitter under Elon Musk. A developer discovered a recently discovered code snippet reference that explicitly references the “paid blue badge” and the new subscription product. The same reference appears in the latest build of the Facebook app, indicating that paid verification may be offered across Meta’s platforms as the product continues to develop.
The discovery was made by developers and reverse engineers Alessandro Paluzzi He previously discovered many new Instagram features before launch, such as an in-app scheduling tool launched in November and a new QR code sharing feature. I also regularly discover internal prototypes of .
Instagram typically confirms small-scale tests and prototypes when they’re spotted, but for paid verification options, the company chose to refrain from commenting.
But given Paluzzi’s track record, it’s at least worth speculating why Instagram is considering a decision on paid authentication.
Specifically, Paluzzi shared with TechCrunch a screenshot of the app’s code containing lines referencing “IG_NME_PAID_BLUE_BADGE_IDV” and “FB_NME_PAID_BLUE_BADGE_IDV”. He suggested that “IDV” could mean identification, given the context. This is because it is also the known meaning of the acronym.
Additionally, the developer said he found references to a new type of subscription product that didn’t exist before. bottom.
Still, Paluzzi cautioned that we can only speculate about these findings for the time being, as the app itself still has nothing visible beyond these small code references.
Still, it’s a fun speculation, especially given the wretchedness of Instagram’s verification system today.
The subject of many complaints over the years, Instagram’s verification system is slow, complicated, and seemingly random because it relies on automation. Instagram allowed users to request verification in 2018, but the whole system itself hasn’t changed much. The Promise of Adam Mosseri Verifying that account will be a focus of improvement in 2020.
Today, the coveted blue badge is still only awarded to prominent individuals, celebrities, global brands or institutions. But everyday users and smaller creators have long sought similar recognition. This has led to a multi-million dollar shadow market for verification where people pay thousands for blue badges through back channels. was revealed, resulting in Meta having to remove fraudulently obtained badges from hundreds of accounts. In other words, there is clearly a demand for paid verification.
That’s what Elon Musk believes as well, making paid authentication a key selling point for Twitter’s revamped Twitter Blue subscription. Unfortunately, Twitter’s implementation was poorly thought out, and users changed their names and profile pictures to famous individuals and brands, leading to widespread spoofing on the network and wreaking havoc. Twitter had to suspend restructuring paid authentication and tools almost immediately, eventually resuming with a gold badge for businesses and additional authentication steps.
Twitter’s first attempt at monetizing verification has been chaotic, but that doesn’t mean the idea itself isn’t worth it. Additionally, advances in AI can help improve the verification process. Instagram already uses AI in other parts of its app. For example, we find child accounts that lie about their age or endorse content.
Additionally, Twitter isn’t the only major social app testing consumer demand for paid subscriptions. Snapchat also caters to power users with a Snapchat+ subscription that offers a long list of perks and extra features. On this week’s earnings call, the company announced that his Snapchat+ subscribers have surpassed 2 million in just six months.
If Instagram chooses, it can offer subscription bundles to its power users. This may include paid blue badges and other features. It’s not clear what that would look like at this point, but it would be interesting to see such a product come to fruition.
Sarah Perez can be reached at email@example.com or Signal at 415.234.3994.