Facebook has come up with a new function called “verified pages and profiles”. This function, applied to certain profiles, will actually help Facebook users to directly identify authenticated accounts of their favorite artists, government officials, or businesses/popular trademarks whose pages have large audiences. In practical terms, once a profile or a page is authenticated, a checkmark logo () appears next to the person’s name or Facebook page.
This “new function” is similar to Twitter’s verified accounts.
It should be noted however, that the criteria which Facebook uses to verify profiles/pages have not been made known to the public. We therefore need to ask ourselves how Facebook will go about making the distinction between “legitimate accounts” and “unofficial” ones.
Whatever method Facebook has chosen, they are presently the only ones capable of verifying and authenticating relevant profiles. In fact, although the social network is aware that they cannot verify every single profile, it is currently impossible to ask Facebook to verify and authenticate a profile/page. However, in the interest of protecting personal data, Facebook still provides its users with the opportunity to denounce fake accounts that would have been authenticated “in error”. One must therefore remain vigilant!
This move by Facebook is only a first step in series of Internet security features. It would be even better if Facebook were to allow celebrities and businesses/popular trademarks to request an authentication of their profile/page.
We now live in a time when professionals are making increasing demands on social networks, which are used to promote businesses and websites since they provide an effective means of communication, and thus greater visibility.
Individual users will for their part, benefit from the ability to recognize and distinguish between a celebrity’s official page and another unofficial one that does not bear the required verification badge.
The implementation of such functions by social networks is an example of a global trend in Internet security. The Internet is constantly evolving, and due to the increasing danger on the web, the public, whether individuals or professionals, needs to feel safe. Furthermore, security measures are taken as a means of tackling constant threats to the general public.
This very desire for Internet security is also the reason why Icann created the Trademark Clearinghouse system (TMCH to which trademark owners can subscribe in order to counteract cybersquatting).
Karine Mamou – European Trademark Attorney