Instagram might be considering the possibility of offering paid verification to users, based on code seen by reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi. The developer shared screenshots in the app's code with TechCrunch, showing lines that say: "IG_NME_PAID_BLUE_BADGE_IDV" and "FB_NME_PAID_BLUE_BADGE_IDV." They clearly say "paid blue badge," most likely referencing the blue checkmarks verified users on the platform get. FB and IG stand for Facebook and Instagram, which could mean that Meta is thinking of verifying users for a fee across platforms. IDV, as TechCrunch notes, is a known acronym for "identity verification." Paluzzi has unearthed numerous unreleased features in the past, including a BeReal-like feature and in-app scheduler on Instagram.
In addition, the developer also reportedly discovered code referencing a new type of subscription, though it's unclear if it's directly connected to paid verification. Twitter Blue, as you know, is a subscription service that costs $8 to $11 a month and gives users access to the website's verified checkmark, along with some experimental features. Offering paid verification was one of the earliest moves Elon Musk made upon taking over Twitter, and it did make Blue look more appealing to prospective subscribers. Its launch was pretty disastrous, however, as the company didn't implement safeguards to prevent random users from impersonating companies and high-profile personalities.
If Meta truly is developing paid verification, it has to find a way not to repeat Twitter's mistake. Especially since Instagram users might scramble to get their profiles verified, considering how hard it currently is to get a blue badge on the app. There's even a black market for Instagram verification, with people paying up to tens of thousands of dollars to get a blue tick next to their name. TechCrunch says Meta chose not to comment on Paluzzi's discovery, though, so whether it truly is working on paid verification is still up in the air.