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Facebook will start allowing public figures to verify their accounts and include pseudonyms from today, according to a report by TechCrunch. This means that public figures will be given the option to be listed under their nickname if they supply the site with a copy of personal identification, like a driver’s license or passport.
In return for supplying Facebook with their documentation, celebrities like Lady Gaga (Stefani Germanotta), Snoop Dogg (Calvin Broadus) and Pink (Alecia Moore) can receive higher rankings in the suggestions for “people to subscribe to”.
Facebook will also accept combinations of a user’s birth certificate, credit card, school identity card or library card to verify an account, and promises to “permanently delete your documents” once the process is complete. This may put off some users, especially considering the fact that Facebook has recently faced criticism for the fact that files (like photos) which have been uploaded to the Facebook servers can still be found online even after the user has deleted them.
The update will be offered to selected public figures and aims to make it easier for users to find and subscribe to genuine updates instead of a host of fake accounts. However, Facebook have not opted to include a Twitter-style official ‘stamp of approval’ on verified accounts at this stage, which may limit the visibility of the new service.
The blue icon which appears on verified Twitter accounts is the easiest way to quickly spot which users are genuine and which are imposters, and although Twitter doesn’t disclose exactly how it verifies accounts and has been known to make mistakes, it is still a useful feature. Even Google+ began offering account verification for celebrities shortly after their launch last year.
Facebook previously only offered users the opportunity to report imposters, which could then be removed by Facebook after review.