Facebook has launched an app called Mentions, but it's strictly for celebrities only. Exclusively available to A-list users with verified accounts and dedicated pages, the elite iOS tool lets famous people track those who mention their name on the social network and even allows them to jump in the conversation.
The VIP app works in the same way that Twitter's search function does, with Facebook hoping that the new tool will improve communication between users and their idols and facilitate spontaneous interactions. Facebook has long trailed Twitter in terms of celebrity usage; Mentions is Facebook's attempt to popularize the network with the glitterati.
Here's an example of Whoopi Goldberg using Mentions to quash some criticism of her uncool films:
The app walks a delicate line between interesting experiment in fanbase interaction and all-out creepy. What happens if you just want to make a cheap joke about Whoopi Goldberg on your newsfeed without her jumping in to remind you that she's been in 80 films? According to Mashable, several high-profile celebrities and public figures have already signed up for the app, including Ariana Huffington, Mariah Carey and Ed Sheeran.
While the app only allows A-listers to see your post if your Facebook profile is public, it still sits uncomfortably within today's modern surveillance culture. Who decided that Hollywood celebrities and musicians should be granted the ability to track what you say about them?
Mentions is currently only available in the US, but Facebook plans to release the app in other countries over the next few months. So next time you're slagging off Ed Sheeran over that "most influential musician in black music" award, be aware that he might be biding his time in the shadowy corridors of the internet, waiting for the right time to swoop in and give you a piece of his mind.
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