What Facebook Authentication Means for Brands

May 31, 2013

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Facebook recently introduced a subtle new feature called Verified Pages indicated by a checkmark beside the owner’s name on its Facebook profile.  This indicator is placed on pages, according to Facebook, “to help you be sure that they are who they claim to be.” Following the lead of Twitter’s verified accounts, this feature authenticates the owner of a profile on the world’s largest social network.

AT&T FacebookThe feature is not being offered to everyone.  Initially, verified accounts are being rolled out to public figures with large audiences, namely, celebrities, government officials, popular brands, businesses and even some journalists.  The small but noticeable check mark will appear beside the individual or brand’s name on profile pages, in search results, and anywhere else on Facebook where the name is visible.

For many brands connecting with consumers on Facebook requires trust. Customers are sharing information with companies, and they need to feel secure that their privacy is respected.  Authentication helps safeguard the consumer’s confidence that they are safely interacting with their trusted brands.

Verification will also reduce the number of rogue celebrity and brand pages within Facebook. A customer can quickly verify if the contest entry they’re submitting via a Facebook tab is tied to a legitimate brand page.  Not too long ago, scammers created a fraudulent Ikea Facebook page offering free $1,000 gift cards; tens of thousands flocked to the page and shared personal information only to be driven to surveys and marketing offers.  Verified Pages are a step to curb this unethical and illegal behavior.

What does this mean for social brands moving forward? It’s unclear whether Facebook will authenticate multiple pages for a single brand. For example, Target has multiple branded pages divided into specific areas of business.  Social media managers need to develop a strong social strategy and model for social governance to help control the proliferation of Facebook properties for their company and develop a strong core social audience.

Facebook proactively verifies authentic pages and profiles. However, if you believe your page should be authenticated or if your brand is being impersonated, FleishmanHillard can work with your brand and Facebook to rectify the situation.

The Facebook blog shared details about verified pages and profiles and their Help Center has additional information.