Facebook has just announced a new verified feature for pages and profiles, designed to give high-profile accounts an added level of authenticity. This is clearly a straightforward copy of Twitter’s own verified accounts, and even features a similar, small blue checkmark to indicate that a person or business is indeed the legitimate account holder. The mark appears on the pages themselves, as well as in search results and throughout the site.
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.
Facebook has a new section in its help center that describes what a verified profile or page actually is, but it doesn’t say how Facebook goes about verifying any of its users. The checkmark icon acts as a tooltip, providing more info about verification when you hover over with a mouse cursor, and Facebook says that there’s no way for users to request to be verified; just like on Twitter, the social network will come to you if they deem it a useful step in helping you prove your identity.
We’ve reached out to Facebook to learn more about the verification process, and will update if the company sheds any light on what’s involved.
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 pseudonyms) and still appear highly in search results. But that program didn’t involve any kind of public badging, which this one does.
More and more, Facebook is trying to become a broadcast channel for media, journalists and celebrities, sort of in the same way that Twitter already primarily is. The subscription feature it launched last year to allow people to follow others and receive their updates without forming a reciprocal “friendship” is a perfect example of how it wants to make it possible for people to go to the social network as a news and information source, as well as a way to connect with people they actually know.
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.
The Verified checkmark badge is already live on Facebook, 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.
Update: Our writer Josh Constine just recieved a notification that his profile had been verified. He didn’t have to make any request or submit any documentation. He uses a normal user profile but with the Subscribe feature turned so people can follow his public updates. His relatively large follower base of 170,000 and his profession as a journalist likely qualified him for automatic verification. A blue checkmark now appears next to his name on his profile and in search results.