Facebook To Allow Pseudonym Profile Pages, If You Are Famous Enough
February 17, 2012

Facebook To Allow Pseudonym Profile Pages, If You Are Famous Enough

Social network Facebook, from the early days, based its user profiles on real names from real people, and despite a few instances of people who shared names with celebrities having their accounts closed, it has mostly been a successful business model with an estimated 800 million profiles created.

Starting this week, however, Facebook will begin allowing a select few to have pseudonyms, or stage names as their official, personal Facebook page. The catch, you must be invited to do so, basically if you are “the” Stefani Germanotta, you are allowed to create a Lady Gaga profile page.

If that is your name and you are not a world-famous pop star, then don´t hold your breath waiting for an invite. Only people who have built up a large base of subscribers, estimated to be in the range of 20,000, will be granted the new account verification and pseudonym privileges, Facebook spokeswoman Meredith Chin explained.

“This update makes it even easier for subscribers to find and keep up with journalists, celebrities and other public figures,” Chin continued.

Public figures must verify their accounts with a government-issued form of ID and then opt to display a preferred nickname instead of their birth name, reports Somini Sengupta for New York Times. Those with verified accounts will gain more prominent placement in Facebook´s “People To Subscribe To” suggestions.

Verified accounts are not a departure from Facebook´s policy that users sign up with their real name, as birth names will still be shown on a user´s profile About page to ensure people don´t subscribe to the public updates of impostors.

The social powerhouse plans to manually approve alternative names to assure they are real stage names, pen names, or otherwise established monikers for applicants, reports Josh Constine for TechCrunch. Unlike Twitter or Google+´s verification programs, Facebook accounts will not be highlighting any sort of badge or denotation that they´re approved.

Late last year, Facebook launched an asymmetrical follow feature which allowed subscribing to the public updates of people you´re interested in but not friends with. This should prevent the problem without denying accounts to people who happen to share a name with a celebrity.

Prior to this change in policy, the only way for an individual to create an account of their own public persona was to create a brand page as a way to promote themselves. Facebook has been looking to discourage this practice and the updated policy should be a good compromise for both power users and the company itself, reports Nathan Olivarez-Giles for LA Times.


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