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Facebook puts its stamp on public figures with verified Pages

Just like on Twitter, Facebook is now putting a small, blue check mark next to the names of celebrities and other high-profile people and businesses on the site to signify their authenticity.

The feature, called Verified Pages, will apply to a small group of prominent public figures such as celebrities, journalists, government officials, popular brands and businesses with large audiences, Facebook said Wednesday in a post on its site.

The tool is aimed at helping people find the authentic accounts of those types of people and groups. "We verify profiles or Pages to help you be sure that they are who they claim to be," the company said.

Besides Pages, Profiles too will receive the update, Facebook said.

The check mark badge will appear beside the name of the account on timelines, in search results and elsewhere on Facebook.

The page for American singer and actress Selena Gomez, for instance, is currently "verified," with more than 43 million likes. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's profile, with more than 18 million followers, is verified.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo's is not, apparently.

Not all authentic profiles and Pages are verified, Facebook noted, and users cannot request to have their account verified. People who believe they are being impersonated can report fake accounts.

Facebook has been working to provide improved search for users more generally with Graph Search, its early stage social search engine. The tool, announced in January, is designed to make it easier to search for things across the site, based on the connections between users.

Graph Search can handle queries based on people, photos, places and interests.

Twitter, meanwhile, first launched its verified accounts feature in 2009, also designed to establish authenticity of identities on the site.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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