Meta Verified lets users buy a coveted blue check next to their name. Sex workers, trans artists, and privacy groups are concerned that the feature mandates users to use their legal name as their profile display name without the opportunity to modify it.
Pomma, also known as Blair Bishop, a sex worker instructor and adult video developer, stated, “For $15, it’s doing you. “Obviously, with the current politics in the country, with the war on porn and trans people, this is just so unsafe.”
Meta Verified, announced last month to all U.S. users, offers more than the verification badge. Meta provides direct account support, proactive impersonation security, and unique Facebook and Instagram stickers for $14.99 on mobile or $11.99 on the web for Facebook-only access. In addition, users must provide a selfie video and a government-issued picture ID for identity verification.
Meta Confirmed demands subscribers’ display names to match their IDs, confusing users. Users must submit their ID name while verifying. Meta spokespersons say they can use middle names, initials, and “popular abbreviations” like “Ben” instead of Benjamin. Verified users may only modify their name or profile photo by canceling, making adjustments, and resubscribing, according to the app.
Users are informed that profile modifications will be public when submitting their verification application. The website previews their Instagram handle, profile photo, and name, but it doesn’t specify that the user’s name will be their profile display name.
Using the middle name on my ID, Meta validated me in 20 minutes.
Once Meta is Confirmed, you must cancel and resubscribe to alter your name or profile photo. Screenshot 2: Family name Meta Confirmed requires matching names. Popular acronyms, spelling variations, nicknames, and initials are fine. Verify. Meta Verified users can’t modify their names or photos. Screenshot 3: Review change. Verify everything. Your profile will show your changes immediately.
Meta Verified users must match their public display name to their government-issued ID.
Creators tweeted about legal name restrictions as Meta released new features.
OnlyFans author Abigail Mac stated she was denied authentication under her stage identity. She attempted again using her legal initials but was rejected. She was verified quickly after applying with her true legal identity, but she couldn’t alter her display name back to her stage name.
“Putting your identity out there, fans can now search online, ‘Where did this person grow up? They dwell where? Are home records available? Mac said. Celebrities are found this way. Buying a property with your actual name makes a lot of stuff public.
Meta Help advised Abigail Mac in an email that a user’s Instagram profile “must match the name on their Government ID” to prevent impersonation.
Meta Verified’s ID restrictions evoke Facebook’s 2014 real name policy uproar. One user reported hundreds of drag, trans, and LGBTQ profiles as bogus. Flagged users had to provide their IDs—which didn’t necessarily match their chosen names—to preserve their accounts.
Facebook apologized and now lets flagged users explain their circumstances before the suspension. In addition, Facebook ultimately permitted flagged users to use library cards and degrees to establish their identities.
Sex workers are concerned about Meta Verified’s limited identification verification alternatives.
Meta pays Abigail Mac regularly for her Instagram memberships and store purchases. She asked why her legal name had to be public to be confirmed since she had to present her government-issued picture ID and other tax paperwork to monetize her account. London River, another adult performer, called Meta’s display name rule “preposterous.”
London River replied to Abigail Mac’s tweet of the Meta Support email, “In other words, yes, you must do yourself to be verified.” We have corporate paperwork, trademarks, test results, and more to link our actual names to our performing names, but nada. Nothing matters.”
Abigail Mac called verification “double-edged.” Verification has helped her shut down impersonators and catfish accounts. But, on the other hand, Abigail Mac claimed she spent years reporting duplicate accounts and spoke to people impersonators defrauded before she was validated.
Since being verified, her Instagram interaction has increased by 131% and approximately 60%. Her Instagram Lives averaged 100 viewers before verification. Her most recent Instagram Live had 600, and she made $11 “just sitting there and talking” in 10 minutes.
In New Zealand and Australia, Meta Verified subscribers have greater account visibility and reach. However, the Meta representative claimed Abigail Mac’s engagement increase isn’t necessarily related to her Meta Verified membership.
For now, Abigail Mac chooses to preserve her Meta Verified subscription, even if she risks disclosing her legal name. She claims she’s “already been doxxed” and wants to monetize her increased involvement.
“My account is growing,” Abigail Mac stated. Is that attracting subscribers? I’ll know whether it makes a difference in a month or three. Pomma, though, believes the internet is hazardous.
“For us, trans people, sex workers, this creates such a terrible climate for the most marginalized just trying to survive online,” they added. It’s easy to shut down catfish accounts with live chat help. I wonder how this will be used against non-verifiers.”
Meta’s verification rules coincide with sex industry debates concerning age verification for adult sites. Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, and Utah approved legislation requiring porn site visitors to present official IDs this year. ElevenIn addition, more states have introduced similar measures.
Ashley, a sex worker peer organizer focusing on digital platform concerns, said Meta’s authentication procedures should alarm all users, not just adult content providers.
It must be done safely if you wish to let individuals prove it with ID. Data should not be saved. “When you get ID’d at a bar or sex party, they don’t save it together with the biometric facial scan,” she claimed. “No surveillance.”
After SESTA/FOSTA was passed, censoring online sex work to curb sex trafficking, sex workers have led the fight against internet censorship and mass monitoring. However, with increasingly harsh legislation that criminalizes the sex trade, many, like Pomma, are cautious of online ID checks.
“Forcing individuals to produce IDs online, with our politicians and our settings right now, just sounds a little like a slippery slope to me,” Pomma added.
Meta’s representative stated it started with great security. The representative claimed the business might develop a “safe solution” for identity verification that doesn’t need users to match their profile names to their official IDs. However, Meta did not provide a date for lowering ID restrictions or ensure that Meta Verified subscribers may modify their display names.
The representative added Meta Verified is “continuing to invest” in its creative community with free and paid products, even though some creators may not like them.
Ashley suggested Meta let verified users keep their legal names concealed.
“The verification procedure should not affect the display name,” she added. “It’s a fairly easy move that would make things safer for everyone, not just sex workers and trans individuals, because many people use a pen name online to separate their public and private life.”