Facebook Debuts Verified Accounts for Social Celebrities

Finding and following your favorite celebrity on Facebook is about to get easier. The social network has announced that it will allow public figures to verify their accounts and display their stage names as Facebook attempts to beat Twitter at its own game.

People like Stefani Germanotta aka Lady Gaga will be able to submit a government-issued ID as proof and register an "alternate name" to be displayed on their pages instead of what's on their drivers licenses. As an additional incentive, celebs that verify will have their names pop higher in searches as well as appear more frequently in the People To Subscribe To suggestions. Each request is individually checked to prevent cyber-squatters from taking control of the name. One drawback to the new program is that while Lady Gaga and Facebook will both know she's the real one, regular users won't because there is no verification badge to indicate a legit account.

Facebook rolled out its Subscribe feature, which allows users to follow other people's public updates without having to friend them, a few months back. With the addition of account verification and pseudonyms, the feature now bears a striking resemblance to the Twitter experience—save for FB's user base, which is roughly eight times larger. If celebrities forgo tweeting for public updates and take their followers with them, Twitter could be in trouble. [Techcrunch]