In 2015, Facebook introduced its Gray Verification Badge to show users what local business/organization Pages were authentic. Pages were able to apply for a Gray Badge in Facebook settings. The badge was not available for purchase. On October 29th, Facebook is removing this feature from all pages.
Facebook states that these badges were "more confusing than helpful" based on feedback that had indicated that users didn't understand what the badge meant. Many SMB's benefited from the badge to prove the legitimacy of their location and that the Page was managed by them. Proving Page authenticity will be a new challenge for marketers, especially for local businesses.
To prove authenticity, Facebook recommends that Pages ensure their profile is fully completed with updated information, a profile picture and accurate contact info. Pages should also be active by posting regularly. Linking you FB Page on your website, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media channels will help as well. According to Facebook, the change will not impact how a Page appears in search results.
The Gray Badges are not to be confused with the Blue Verification Badge that will remain in use. These are to verify public figures, media organizations, or eligible brands. Facebook considers a variety of factors when applying a Blue Badge like account completeness, policy compliance, and public interest. Blue badges can't be applied for or bought.