Facebook Asks Page Owners to Prove Authenticity

By Eric Eldon Comment

Facebook I am the Authentic Representative of the Entity that my Page RepresentsCreating a page on Facebook is pretty easy — so easy, in fact, that a lot of “unofficial” pages have sprung up for brands and celebrities. But Facebook is trying to make pages an integral part of its advertising products, so it wants the brands themselves to own their presence on Facebook. This means the company regularly takes “unofficial” pages and folds them into the official ones; and now, it is also pushing a stricter process for proving that one owns a page.

Last week, apparently, it introduced a new verification process. It has been emailing large page owners, according to the guys at Lonely CEO Media, asking owners to confirm that “I am the Authentic Representative of the Entity that my Page Represents.” In this form, available here, Facebook says it will “only provide publishing rights to a Page if the admin is an authentic representative of the Page’s name.” It’s not clear how broadly Facebook will demand this sort of certification.

It gives three different ways of certifying page ownership.

  1. “Add a badge or a Fan Box widget to your website that links to your Facebook Page.”
  2. “Add an email address that is officially affiliated with the entity of your Page to your personal Facebook account. You can also add the email address of a company authorized to manage your brand (e.g., management or PR firm).”
  3. “Add another admin to your Page who has an email address that is officially affiliated with the entity your Page represents.”

The latter two options are straightforward. The first one is more interesting, as it cleverly both proves that the page owner has control over their own web site, and gets the owner actively promoting the page (and Facebook itself).

As large pages grow to have millions of users — many of whom comment, “like,” or otherwise engage with the page regularly — the real estate value is continuing to go up. And just like real estate in real-life, this means more shady characters will try to fraudulently claim pages as their own. To that end, Facebook is also introducing a way to resolve ownership conflicts.

From the site:

When a Page appears to be authorized, often we’ll receive a complaint for removal from another claimed representative of the entity promoted on the Page. Sometimes this is caused by the complaining representative being unaware of the Page administrator’s affiliation. As a courtesy to you, we forward your contact information in such circumstances to the complaining party in an effort to facilitate a quick resolution. Please check the ‘I Agree” box below to acknowledge that you agree to this process.

This new authentication form is hardly the end of the problem. Twitter, for example, has also recently rolled out a verification process for accounts, yet people continue to make fake ones. Facebook may now have more questions to answer, as the Lonely CEO guys note: “What legal obligations does this create for Facebook? Is Facebook suddenly responsible for the accuracy of pages? To what degree are these communities responsible for the identities they present? In addition, what will happen to abstract pages (like “Ice Cream” or “Pizza”)? Many legal and practical implications will continue to pop up as the issue evolves….”

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