Canadian businesses using Facebook or Instagram have a new way to mark their authenticity.
The platforms' owner, Meta Platforms Inc. announced Monday that it has begun testing a paid verification program for businesses using either social network in Canada.
In exchange for $36.99 per month, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social media giant will give subscribing companies a verification badge confirming their business is authentic and grant them access to proactive monitoring for impersonation.
Other perks include access to support when troubleshooting account issues, along with featuring subscriber companies at or near the top of search results and as a recommended verified business to follow in user feeds.
Businesses are only eligible for the service if their accounts meet what Meta called a minimum tenure, though spokesperson David Troya-Alvarez would not say what the threshold is, "in order to protect against bad actors."
Meta began testing paid verification for businesses in New Zealand earlier this year. It has said it has learned from its initial tests and plans to add more value to the subscription offering over time.
Meta's new program follows a wave of initiatives from social media businesses aiming to enhance account verification.
In August, LinkedIn rolled out a new offering to verify the profiles of Canadian members who provide a copy of government identification to a third-party company the business social network had partnered with.
In May, Meta added a pay-for-verification program for "up-and-coming creators" called Meta Verified. It costs $15.99 per month if purchased through a web browser, or $19.99 per month if bought through an iOS or Android device.
Meta Verified promises to authenticate accounts using government ID and mark them with a blue check mark, and give subscribers access to extra customer support with live operators.
Before Meta Verified was launched, X, then called Twitter, began charging users to obtain and maintain a blue check mark and access a slew of other features.
Many of these programs are meant to reduce impersonation.
A 2021 survey of 1,001 people from the Centre for International Governance Innovation found 62 per cent of respondents had experienced online impersonation.
The survey also showed 15 per cent of male respondents and 23 per cent of female respondents witnessed online impersonation.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2023.
Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press