Facebook's Creative Labs team can't be tamed. The group responsible for producing new Facebook-related apps first came up with the social newsreader Paper. Then the Snapchat-esque Slingshot hit iTunes just last month. On Thursday, Facebook released Mentions, but this iOS app isn't for just anybody--only celebrities can use it.
Mentions is designed for the public figures who use Facebook to manage their presence on the network. VIPs can use the app to do all the standard Facebook activities, like post status updates, photos, and videos, or respond to comments. They can check out trending stories and pontificate on the news of the day--which everyone will care about and want to embed on their own sites, obviously. Celebs can also host live Q&As on their pages straight from Mentions. A few big names, like Mariah Carey and Tyrese Gibson, have been testing the app for Facebook.
Don't even try using Mentions if you're not a famous person--Facebook is only letting verified accounts use the app. That means you need a blue checkmark next to your name and a public page, not a regular personal profile. If you're verified, you can request access to the app here. If you're not verified...well, that's unfortunate.
Mentions might seem a little silly to us non-famous folk, but it's part of Facebook's effort to become a more public place, like that other social network that uses blue checkmarks to verify people. Facebook began that process slowly, first allowing public posts to be embedded on outside sites, then launching FB Newswire, a service that shares newsworthy content posted by Facebook users and organizations. The network has heavily promoted the way people use it during major events like the World Cup.
Right now, celebrities tend to pick Twitter to spout off on news, share big announcements, post photos, and interact with fans. But if Facebook makes it easier to do those things with Mentions, famous people might tap on that app instead of its rival.