Facebook launched its latest attack in its quest for Internet dominance Thursday, announcing that it will be verifying the accounts of its most popular and famous users, making it easier for them to personalize their profiles and increase their number of Facebook subscribers.
The primary benefit for adopting a verified account is that Facebook now will let these users go by a their better-known nicknames; Stefani Germanotta can call herself Lady Gaga on Facebook and Curtis James Jackson's fans can find his account more easily as 50 Cent.
Everyone know that any change to Facebook is really just a great excuse for the site's 400 million active users to complain, so while you prepare to track down your favorite celebrities on Facebook, here are five things about the new feature that are worth whining over.
1. Verified accounts will not be an option for the public. Facebook is taking a Don't call us, we'll call you attitude with the new feature, so don't even consider contacting Facebook directly about getting your account verified. Whether you're Lady Gaga or just some guy who sings her song on a street corner, you'll have to wait until Facebook contacts you, presenting you with the opportunity to send them a copy of a government-issued ID before your account can be verified.
2. Annoying effects for regular users. Facebook, which already has a semi-strict policy against nicknames, will likely increase its efforts to force everyone to use their real names. The creation of verified accounts will also mean that Facebook will push harder for users to subscribe to celebrity updates.
3. More Timeline. Verified accounts will give these special users more control over how their Timeline profiles look. Facebook has also announced that it will transition all company and brand pages to the new format in an attempt to make Timeline the ubiquitous Facebook design.
4. Facebook is clearly ripping off Twitter. Mark Zuckerberg and Co. are attempting to make inroads into Twitter (and to a lesser extent Google+) territory with the change. Verified accounts have been a popular feature of Twitter that helped bring celebrities onto the social network and allowed them to interact directly with their fans with little question over whether they were the real deal or an imposter. According to Techcrunch.com, Facebook is aggressively recruiting celebrities for its new verified accounts in an attempt to directly compete with Twitter.
5. It doesn't stop with this attack on Twitter. Zuckerberg recently signed up with Pinterest, according to Mashable. It's possible that he signed up out of interest in the new and rapidly growing social network, but likely in an attempt to tweak the site's best features and claim them for Facebook.