Facebook Verification - What is it, and why do we need it?
One of the most common issues plaguing social networks is that anyone can create an account and use whatever name they wish. I say that I'm a famous celebrity, grab their image from Google Images, and begin posting updates as that individual. Now, the more famous the celebrity, the less likely you might be to believe that I am that person, but for less famous people, it's easier than you might think. And for normal people, it's an issue of potential identify theft.
Companies, too, have been at risk. In fact it's common to recommend that a business owner stake their claim on their profile on every possible social network, and there are even services set up to help you do that, just to ensure that someone else, like a competitor or disgruntled employee, doesn't take your "name" first.
That's why networks like Twitter and Pinterest and Google+ have put verification measures in place to help protect people and businesses, and help users know that they're engaging the person or company that they think they are.
Facebook Adds Profile and Pages Verification
Facebook has now announced that they, too, are adding verification. However, they've given no specifics as to how a particular account is going to be verified. Apparently, they're handling it all themselves. Major Brands and celebrities will simply wait and Facebook will automatically verify their Page or Profile for them.
For smaller businesses and individuals, it's unclear when, if ever, their profiles will be verified. Facebook does state that if you find someone else using your name, you can report them as a Fake Account.
On other social networks like Google+, any business can verify their account by authenticating the URL for the business placed on the Google+ Page. It's a fairly painless process, so one wonders why Facebook didn't follow suit. Not only does this Verification favor Big Brands, it also seems to create far more work for Facebook than needed.
Impact of Verification
It's still too early to tell how valuable verification is to businesses, but studies done in the past by companies like Verisign, particularly where eCommerce is concerned, have indicated that trust becomes an issue, and any means that a business can use to help establish trust will have a positive impact on sales. If verifying the authenticity of my Facebook Page will help engender trust in that Page and by extension my brand, that's definitely something I will want to implement.
If Facebook's policy changes and a means for verifying your own Page or Profile becomes available, I will certainly share it and the requisite steps here.
What do you think? Does Verification matter to you on social media?
By Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner
Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner, Blogger and Author in St. Louis, and the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early '90's, and is active on all of the major social networks. Mike teaches a holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blog content, social media and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales.
Mike is the author of, "The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management", "The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.", and "Blog Promotionology, The Art & Science of Blog Promotion."