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Meta puts an end to the blue badge business!

Meta puts an end to the blue badge business! Artists, influencers, and professionals know it well. For over three years, blue badges on Instagram have been sold for prices ranging from 2000 to 20,000 euros on a ruthless black market where scammers abound. An investigation into the heart of a business one enters somewhat by chance.

Meta puts an end to the blue badge business: the scammers!

There are two types of operators in this black market. The first are scammers. One fine January morning, a Parisian DJ, who himself was verified on Instagram (without any notable fame), gives me a phone call to offer his services. After a vague promotional campaign that he requests from me, he implies that he can certify anyone on Instagram for the price of 600 euros. According to him, the procedure is simple: first, create press coverage for the client in question, and then submit their application to Instagram.

Following his call, I put the DJ in touch with ten artists who trust me relatively. After a month of waiting, it’s a disaster. The DJ has failed to certify a single account. The artists demand answers. Later on, this DJ turns out to be the Neymar of scams. With his screenshots sent to the chain, his contacts in the USA and India, he is skilled in his field: scamming.

Later, in a conversation with a Parisian producer, I would learn that this DJ is not a one-time offender and that he has also scammed his own producer through other means. The case is closed, but more and more attention is being paid to this business to understand its ins and outs. Because if this market exists, there are indeed operators capable of communicating with Instagram.

Meta puts an end to the blue badge business: reliable operators!

It’s truly difficult to quantify the number of operators capable of effectively certifying an Instagram account. In 2021, they were mainly around 3 or 4 in the Paris region. Some were based in French-speaking countries. The price for a blue badge for artists was set at 2500 euros.

The process is simple or was simple until September 2022. The operator prepares a dossier for the artist in question. This means they publish a series of articles for the artist with the links they have forged in the media world. Generally, the artists are “real,” so it doesn’t pose too much of a problem. Once the artist has 5 or 7 articles on nationally renowned media outlets, they submit their dossier for validation, which takes between 5 and 12 hours, and they genuinely obtain the blue badge.

The problem arises when the client is an influencer or a company. First, for technical reasons. The essential condition for obtaining a blue badge is to have a Google panel. The Google panel for artists is generated through distribution on streaming platforms. Every distributed artist has a Google panel. However, for influencers and companies, only a Wikipedia page can generate a Google panel. And considering the activism of the free encyclopedia and its rejection of PR agencies, the equation becomes more complicated.

So, some operators had the idea of presenting influencers as artists by building their careers with song releases on streaming platforms and also constructing a media presence. This highly sought-after method could earn up to 20,000 euros per blue badge, especially around Dubai. It’s also during this time that the business experiences its decline. At its peak in March 2022, an operator is capable of certifying dogs and cats.

However, several specialized media outlets seize the matter and expose the technique. Facebook reacts. Starting from September 2022, hardly any operator is capable of certifying an influencer in this way. What’s worse, the certification process becomes stricter. Meta lets nothing pass. And most operators have ruined their relationships with the media. Thus begins the long decline of the operators who end up selling the blue badge for as low as 600 euros.

Meta puts an end to the blue badge business: the final decision!

In a press conference a month ago, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the blue badge on Instagram is now available through a subscription. He takes inspiration from Twitter. The paid blue badge is supposed to save his company, which has lost a third of its value in the stock market.

For now, our contacts at Meta suggest that there will likely be a distinction between the authentication badge and the celebrity badge. However, Meta’s help pages currently state the opposite.

At the moment, operators are in turmoil, and artists don’t know what to think anymore.

C.E.O HELL SINKY, author, journalist, documentary

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