I was sick of racist comments and scammers posing as my business online. Here's why I paid to get verified on Instagram.
- Adella Colvin has been targeted by racist comments and spam accounts on Instagram.
- To protect her yarn business, the founder signed up for Meta's verification program last week.
This as-told-to essay is based on an interview with Adella Colvin, the owner of the yarn-dyeing business LolaBean Yarn Co. in Grovetown, Georgia.
Last week, Colvin applied for Meta's verification service, which grants individual accounts a blue check mark on their profiles for $15 a month. Until recently, account verification was free but available only to public figures such as celebrities as well as media outlets. Within 24 hours, the check appeared on Colvin's profile, and she later posted on Instagram to tell her community why she signed up for the program.
Meta did not respond to Insider's request for comment about Colvin's claims that she reported racist comments and impersonators in time for publication.
The following has been edited and condensed for clarity.
I've been a target of racist comments and spam accounts on Instagram
A lot of companies choose to keep their politics and personal beliefs out of their business. I'm not one of those. I like my customers to know who I am and what my beliefs are. If those beliefs align with yours, and you feel better about buying from me, so be it. If not, and you have to go elsewhere, that's absolutely fine.
I'm very outspoken about matters that affect marginalized groups, whether it be Black and Brown people or the LGBTQ communities. I talk about these things and it angers a lot of people.
It's made me a target within the knitting and crafting community. I started to see a lot of spam accounts posing as my business. Some of my customers were being targeted — told they'd won free yarn, to give their address and credit-card info to pay for shipping.
I would report these fake accounts, but we would get a response that Instagram is not going to take these accounts down because they haven't done anything wrong. So I would have to block these accounts and send out a newsletter to let my customers know there's only one LolaBean Yarn Co. I needed a way to show my account was the only one for my business.
A lot of my customers are older, and they're not necessarily as internet-savvy as the younger generations. So I needed a way to safeguard them as well.
I've tried to get verified in the past but never got approved
The first time I applied for verification was in 2020 because I started to see a lot of racist and hateful attacks and scam accounts. I had applied to get verified over and over, and I kept getting denied. So when I saw this Meta Verified service being rolled out, I went for it.
It's a little unfortunate that I have to pay $15 a month for it. In a perfect world, everybody would be verified and wouldn't have to prove they are who they say they are.
I think a lot of people stayed away from paying for it because everybody sees it as a status symbol. But for small businesses, that's not what it's about. It's about letting your customers know that you are who you say you are.
How I applied for the blue check
My Instagram avatar was my business logo, so I had to change that to a photo of my face because it must match your photo ID. Then I had to submit front and back pictures of my driver's license, verify my phone number, and upload several different pictures of myself.
Then I made sure that they had my payment information, and the next day, I got a notification that I had been approved.
The blue check is a safeguard for business owners
When I had initially received the option to sign up for Meta Verified, one of the things that it sold was protection from impersonation and that people would be monitoring your account.
Maybe now that I'm giving them the money, they'll actually do something about it. So I'm hoping this will get a real human to look at these things and make better choices to keep people safer and free from harassment, bullying, and racism.
I would recommend it to other business owners. It's an investment to protect their business and customers. As long as you have to use social media, I would suggest getting verified. It's a little bit of added safety. It might not be foolproof, but it's better than what we had.
I also don't think it's the only thing people should do. They should build up email lists, newsletters, and subscribers because we can't always depend on these platforms. Most of these platforms, if not all, don't have our best interests at heart. It all boils down to the money.
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