Countless cannabis brands and creators have long had issues with content censorship and account deletions on both Facebook and Instagram. The size of the problem is demonstrated by our most viewed article of all time being our How To Get Your Instagram Account Back if Deleted guide. In Mid-February, Meta (the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and more) announced a new service that may quell many of these concerns. This article will explore what Meta Verified is and why it may be important to cannabis content creators, influencers, marketers, journalists and brands.
What is Meta Verified?
Meta Verified is a paid subscription model that allows individuals 18 years or older using Instagram and Facebook to get blue checkmark-verified along with other exclusive features and account support benefits. After an initial test in Australia and New Zealand, Meta Verified is now being rolled out to everyone across the United States. Canada and other countries are set to follow suit shortly. At the moment, Meta Verified only allows individuals (not brands or entities) to become verified. However, some brands may still be able to utilize and benefit from this service and future iterations of the product may open to brands.
How much does Meta Verified cost?
Both Instagram and Facebook are offering Meta Verified. When you sign up through your mobile phone (iOS or Android) a Meta Verified subscription costs $14.99/month per platform. Therefore if you sign up for both Instagram and Facebook’s verified subscription service, you would be paying around $30/month. These prices are all in USD. Prices in Canada are anticipated to be around $20/month CAD per platform.
What are the benefits of Meta Verified?
- Verification: the platform uses a government ID verification process to “securely establish your account’s authenticity”, which results in the user obtaining a verified blue checkmark. Viewers can click on the individual’s blue checkmark and see when it was issued. If issued since Meta Verified was introduced, there’s a good chance the verification was purchased.
- Exclusive content features: Users will receive exclusive sticker options on both Facebook Reels and Instagram Stories. If subscribed to Facebook’s Meta Verified, the user will also receive 100 “Stars” a month to show support for other creators.
- Account protection: Once subscribed to Meta Verified, a user’s account will be updated with proactive account monitoring and account security with two-factor authentication.
- Direct account support: Potentially most importantly for cannabis brands and creators, Meta Verified establishes a communication channel between the user and Facebook/Instagram’s customer support team. Meta promises the ability to “get help from a real person” with support issues.
How to Join The Waitlist and Subscribe to Meta Verified
If you’re based in Australia, New Zealand or the United States – you should already have access to Meta Verified. To become Meta Verified – visit this landing page, sign in, select a profile you’d like to verify, set up payment and provide ID and selfie video. The process is fairly simple and should only take a few minutes to complete.
If you’re based in Canada or other countries that have not yet unlocked access to Meta Verified services, you can join a waitlist to be the first-to-know when the launch happens. To join this waitlist, find a verified individual on Instagram (on your phone) with a blue checkmark and click the blue checkmark to reveal the verification data. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “Join the Waitlist” if the option is available to you.
Can Cannabis Brands and Creators use Meta Verified?
At the moment, Meta Verified is made specifically for individuals – creators, influencers, journalists, marketers, etc. These individual creators that make cannabis-related content (paid and non-paid) will now have access to verification, new content features, account protection and account support.
Despite the above information, ADCANN has seen reports of certain cannabis brands being able to verify their cannabis brand accounts. These brands have not responded with comments so we will not feature their names in this article, but we’ve recently seen a handful of cannabis brands with new blue checkmarks on Instagram.
Implications of Meta Verified for the Cannabis Industry
Meta Verified’s new features may have a number of implications for the cannabis industry worldwide.
Cannabis brands and creators are constantly facing problems with content censorship along with the risk of completely losing access to their account. Theoretically, Meta Verified will provide a safeguard against complete deletion or suspension for those who pay the monthly fee. The hope is that these influencers could plead their case to a real human to reverse content strikes and account suspensions. It makes sense that Facebook and Instagram would prioritize helping paying subscribers maintain their accounts on the platform over casual, non-paying users.
“This would be a game changer for the industry. Content creators and educators would be able to create and provide better cannabis education online, accessible for all.” explains Anna AKA The Cannabinista, a prominent Canadian cannabis influencer that gained popularity through her authentic DIY edible infusion videos and has dealt with content censorship and account deletion on several occasions across several platforms.
“Right now, it’s so difficult to educate about the plant because we can’t show any cannabis or speak about cannabis without using emojis and innuendoes. We are constantly in fear of losing our accounts, so we have to create content in such cryptic ways, and it’s hard for people to get clear and easy-to-understand cannabis education online.“ says Anna, echoing the sentiments held by many of her fellow online cannabis influencers and educators.
For more popular cannabis brands and influencers, especially those in or transitioning from the legacy market, the new paid verification blue checkmark can help protect against impersonation and fakes. Cannabis influencers and brands have long faced the problem of fake accounts popping up to scam their real fans, especially when running giveaways or other marketing campaigns. This verification process will hopefully minimize the number of scams by distinguishing real creators from fake accounts.
Those signed up to Meta Verified will also have access to exclusive content features like new stickers on Instagram stories. It’s expected that Instagram and Facebook will continue to roll out exclusive content features for paying subscribers that can help give brands and influencers a creative step up over their competition.
Overall, Meta Verified could be incredibly meaningful for the cannabis industry depending on how the platform advances over time. For influencers, it will allow them to confidently invest time and money into Instagram and/or Facebook to build their personal brands. Furthermore, the cannabis companies that work with these influencers, journalists, marketers, etc will have more confidence in investing in influencer marketing as the risk of campaign content and account deletion is minimized. Ultimately this means better and more measurable ROI and marketing tools for companies, higher revenue and more stability for influencers, and the ability to learn about new products, brands and educational items for consumers. If Meta Verified eventually extends to brands, companies and organizations in the future – it will have a large ripple effect on the industry.
These issues have been seen by many creators in the space, such as Will Zorn, a cannabis marketer who’s grown on Twitch, Instagram and TikTok as HippyZorn for his gaming & cannabis content.
“This paid verification will be a game changer for us content creators. I started my journey as a content creator by posting reviews of legal products on Instagram but had multiple posts removed for ‘Violating Instagram Guidelines’ despite not advocating sales and stating I was simply reviewing legal products. This forced me to pivot and has for a lot of others – creating a lack of quality cannabis content. Content creators had to choose: do you want to keep your account or keep rolling the dice on cannabis content?
If someone doesn’t like your post, or you, they’d just need to report your post for ‘Selling of regulated goods’ regardless of if you were actually driving sales or not. At best, you lose the post, at worst, you lose your account and the following you created. This hasn’t just hit content creators, this has happened to multi-million dollar brands. While I’m sure none of us love the idea of giving Meta money on top of our data, creating a system that would hypothetically get creators and administrators in direct combat will help with these false strikes and hopefully allow for cannabis to be discussed in the open, like other regulated goods. Paid verification and the changes it brings could allow brands to work with creators without fear of needless and unjust repercussions.“
The Future of Cannabis Social Media Marketing
As economic conditions worsen and corporate advertising budgets tighten, it appears that social media networks continue to move towards pay-to-play models. All the major social networks other than TikTok are now selling verifications, increased content features and access to customer service. This may prove to be a positive thing for cannabis companies. 420-related brands and individuals who may not have previously had access to verification and customer service will be able to pay a fair and accessible price to receive these benefits.
At ADCANN, we hope to continue to observe positive advancements in the world of cannabis marketing, branding and advertising on social media networks.
Need help with Meta Verified, Instagram or Facebook strategy or ads? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Updated on May 2, 2023 by ADCANN