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Facebook’s oft-derided timeline format will soon be rolled out to brand pages in an effort to introduce a more consistent look to the site.

AdAge reports that the new brand pages will be launched in beta with a handful of partners and then be released to additional marketers in stages.

Presumably Facebook has a longer-term plan for creating revenue out of this, but initially the move will cause a headache for businesses that have spent a lot of time (and money) creating their existing pages.

The motivation could be to encourage more brands to make use of Facebook's Open Graph timeline apps, which in turn generate more content for the social network's new Sponsored Story ads.

Brands will have more control over how their timeline looks compared to normal users, but it's likely that the inclusion of a large banner at the top fo the page will remain.

It also makes sense to roll this out to brands only once users have got used to seeing timeline on their own profiles, even if opinion is polarised as to how user-friendly it is.

In other Facebook news, the social network is also going to start verifying celebrity accounts while also providing the option to display a pseudonym or stage name on a page.

The update increases competition with Twitter, which provides a similar service (once publicly-generated, now only private). However, things may swing to Facebook’s favour in terms of high profile accounts since it has a larger user base, offers a more attractive platform and provides more functionality for pushing out news (if it can get the subscription model right).

From tomorrow Facebook users with a certain number of subscribers will be offered the chance to verify their account by uploading an image of government-issued photo ID.

Those with verified accounts will gain more prominence in Facebook’s ‘People to subscribe to’ suggestions, but accounts won't display any sort of verification icon or badge.

The lack of this is a bit of a mystery, since it would make it easier for users to work out the real accounts from the spammers - but we might see it come to fruition following feedback from those engaging in the process.

You never know though, this might just be a move from Facebook to keep the system behind closed doors and shield it from any fallout similar to the fake Wendi Deng Murdoch account on Twitter.

David Moth

Published 16 February, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Nick Stamoulis

The Facebook Timeline rollout to users seems to be happening at a slower pace than was originally thought. It would make sense for all individuals to get it and adjust before brands are forced into it. A brand page has many more implications than a personal page and a business should be given ample time to figure out how best to use it.

over 4 years ago

Hannah Rainford

Hannah Rainford, Social Media Manager at Jellyfish Online Marketing

You say that it 'makes sense to roll this out to brands only once users have got used to seeing timeline on their own profiles'.

Except not everyone is using the new Timeline yet.

I hope that Facebook hold off on rolling the Timeline out for pages until everyone has been switched over to the new Timeline profile. A lot of my Facebook friends are still using the old profile. To start switching over the brand pages before all the profiles have been switched over will only add to the confusion that some people are experiencing.

over 4 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

Hannah, I know what you mean. The roll-out has been badly handled, I guess they didn't want to annoy users by forcing them to have timeline but now the site is stuck in some halfway house.

With the brand page switch over you would think Facebook will change them all over at once, otherwise brands may get annoyed at being offered different functionality to their competitors.

over 4 years ago

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Ciara

It will be interesting to see how brands respond, it'd be wise for them to have a plan of action for when their time comes to change - this is a countdown to when it's expected Timeline brand pages will launch, based on the latest rumours http://facebooktimelinecountdown.com/.

over 4 years ago

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Ciara

Apologies, meant to include a disclaimer that I'm from the company that created the countdown!

over 4 years ago

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Ciara

But now I see that my comment didn't make it up in the first place! Apologies again for any confusion there!

over 4 years ago

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