Sunday, June 9, 2013

Did “Eminem” just send you a friend request on Facebook?

Facebook Page Verification


Will the real slim shady please stand-up?

Now you can know for sure, thanks to a new Facebook feature: Verified Pages. The Verified Pages are being rolled out to “just a small group of prominent public figures (celebrities, journalists, government officials, popular brands and businesses) with large audiences,” Facebook says, and will soon roll out to profiles as well. One of the most common issues plaguing social networks is that anyone can create an account and use whatever name they wish. I say that I'm a famous celebrity, grab their image from Google Images, and begin posting updates as that individual. Now, the more famous the celebrity, the less likely you might be to believe that I am that person, but for less famous people, it's easier than you might think. And for normal people, it's an issue of potential identify theft.

Companies, too, have been at risk. In fact it's common to recommend that a business owner stake their claim on their profile on every possible social network, and there are even services set up to help you do that, just to ensure that someone else, like a competitor or disgruntled employee, doesn't take your "name" first. That’s why networks like Twitter and Pinterest and Google+ have put verification measures in place to help protect people and businesses, and help users know that they're engaging the person or company that they think they are.

Facebook also hired Mashable vet Vadim Lavrusik back in 2011, who now spearheads efforts to get journalists to use Facebook as a key publication and sharing vector for content. A verification badge helps guarantee that celebrity pages are actually run by the person (or at least their communications team), but it also does a lot to help readers confirm the authenticity of reports purporting to come from journalistic sources.

Facebook Adds Profile and Pages Verification

Facebook has a new section in its help center that describes what a verified profile or page actually is. However, they've given no specifics as to how a particular account is going to be verified. Apparently, they're handling it all themselves. Major Brands and celebrities will simply wait and Facebook will automatically verify their Page or Profile for them. For smaller businesses and individuals, it's unclear when, if ever, their profiles will be verified. Facebook does state that if you find someone else using your name, you can report them as a Fake Account.
On other social networks like Google+, any business can verify their account by authenticating the URL for the business placed on the Google+ Page. It's a fairly painless process, so one wonders why Facebook didn't follow suit. Not only does this Verification favor Big Brands, it also seems to create far more work for Facebook than needed.


Impact of Verification

Facebook has previously launched a verification program, back in February 2012, when it allowed people to verify their account with a valid ID. This was an extra step that allowed people to then use nicknames (handy for celebrities with aliases) and still appear highly in search results. But that program didn’t involve any kind of public badging, which this one does. It's still too early to tell how valuable verification is to businesses, but studies done in the past by companies like Verisign, particularly where eCommerce is concerned, have indicated that trust becomes an issue, and any means that a business can use to help establish trust will have a positive impact on sales. If verifying the authenticity of my Facebook Page will help engender trust in that Page and by extension my brand, that's definitely something I will want to implement.
If Facebook's policy changes and a means for verifying your own Page or Profile become available, I will certainly share it and the requisite steps here. Verified Facebook Pages and profiles will started rolling out last Wednesday. So if you peruse your favorite celebrity crushes you should be able to find the blue checkmark. And if you’re really big news, maybe you’ve already got one of your own.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely wanted to be famous. It seemed all great, up until the point when it wasn't. Now I haven't got any energy for it and I don't covet that thing.

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