Facebook, a service built on real names and real identities, will tomorrow start allowing prominent public figures to verify their accounts and then opt to display a preferred nickname instead of their birth name. Those with verified accounts will gain more prominent placement in Facebook’s “People To Subscribe To” suggestions.
Verified accounts are not a departure from Facebook’s policy that users sign up with their real name, as birth names will still be shown on a user’s profile About page. Instead it’s a way to ensure people don’t subscribe to the public updates of impostors. It will also arm Facebook for its battle with Twitter to control the interest graph.