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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.