Facebook Inc.’s (NASDAQ:FB) latest iPhone app isn't for your average Joe or Jane. The social network said it has developed “Facebook Mentions,” an iOS app exclusively for “public figures.”
The app allows politicians, celebrities and leaders of industry who are verified by Facebook to keep track of what the social network’s users are saying about them. Public figures need to be “Facebook verified” to use the app -- a method of ensuring that a famous person is who they say they are. Facebook made the announcement Thursday.
Facebook verifying its famous users was a feature it borrowed from Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR), and Mark Zuckerberg & Co. require a certain level of notability, along with a copy of government-issued ID to confirm that a user is, in fact, worthy of being “verified.” While Twitter has long allowed anyone to search for phrases and words that are “trending,” Facebook is only allowing celebrities with the app to do the same.
The new app comes as social networks become the place where fans attempt to make contact with their favorite celebrities, especially on rival social networks like Twitter. Facebook said the Mentions app “makes it easy for public figures to talk with their fans and each other on the go.”
Mentions allows verified users to see what Facebook users are saying about them, and respond in kind. Facebook said it also helps them share posts, photos or live Q&As with their followers, and notifies celebrities when they are mentioned by media outlets or their fellow “influencers.”
The new app will likely replace the standard Facebook app for celebrities, as it contains the standard features like a news feed, but also includes the ability for greater interaction with fans. Facebook said it was using a number of stars to test out Mentions before it launched Thursday, including Whoopi Goldberg, Austin Mahone, Ed Sheeran and Mariah Carey.