Facebook Launches Verified Accounts and Timeline for Brands
February will bring two major changes to the world’s largest social network: one that will directly compete with Twitter and one that will spiff up the features of a business’s Facebook page (word on the net is brands may even have the opportunity to re-name the “like” button to a verb tailored to their biz).
Its first new update launched on Friday; it allows high-profile public personnel to first verify their account using their birth name and then display a pseudonym or nickname on their profile. For instance, Lady Gaga’s current profile only displays her real name, Stefani Germanotta. Facebook’s Verified Accounts will allow her to register her name using a driver’s license or passport to ensure she is the Stefani Germanotta acclaimed for “Bad Romance,” “Poker Face,” and donning a dress made of meat in public, and then let her opt to display either Stefani Germanotta, Stefani Germotta (Lady Gaga), or simply Lady Gaga on her public profile. Her real name will still appear on her “About” page.
The shift comes as a means of improving and clarifying Facebook’s “Subscriptions” feature which allows people to “follow” the status updates of their favorite celebrities, sports stars, journalists, etc. without actually being friends with them. But because of Facebook’s current policy of “real people, real names,” it is difficult to find prolific people more famously known by their nicknames or know if they are, in fact, the person you’re looking for and not a “real” person with the same birth name.
Facebook is incentivizing the switch to these superstars by allowing them better placement in the site’s “People to Subscribe To” list. Three months ago, when Facebook first released its subscription feature, it grabbed attention by offering up its enormous user base which trumps Twitter’s in size by eight times. But not just anyone gets verified–you have to be personally invited (it’s how you know you’re famous). Facebook will then work to keep its reputation for real people by manually double-checking the verifications, and, unlike Twitter or Google+, no gimmicky badge will delineate the authentics from the impostors. The name will be enough.
The social media company’s other major uplift will be its “Timeline for Brands” revamp, said to be announced on leap year day, February 29. There are less details about the new feature as it will be tested in beta stages before wide release, but updated goodies include the ability to sell products or promote polls in Timeline’s characteristic boxes and to display the full history of a company with fun photos and updates in the Timeline format.
“Facebook VP-Marketing and Business Partnerships David Fischer said Timeline for brands would be ‘consistent’ with the Timeline look-and-feel, but not a carbon copy,” AdAge reports.
“If companies choose to go the Pinterest route and create their own version of a ‘Pin It’ button, the new format will also encourage the use of Facebook-tracked ‘Open Graphs,’ which measure consumers’ interests and purchases within the social network,” AdAge states.
Both innovations will continue to boost Facebook’s relevancy. Anyone who thought this social media giant would lose style without a fight need to update their status.