I’m somebody now: Facebook Verified Pages

facebook-verified checkmarkOne of my favorite misquotes is from Steve Martin’s movie The Jerk. The phone book delivery person stops by and hands Martin’s character a copy, and Martin goes off in raptures (here comes the misquote – ready?): “The new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here! I’m somebody now!”

You too, dear author, can be an official somebody. All you have to do is set up a page for your author business on Facebook, and then fill out a form on this page to tell them that, yes, you are really you. But basically, all you have to do is make sure you’re logged into Facebook, go to that page, fill out their form, and hit submit. Once Facebook has verified that you are who you say you are, they will reward you with a blue check mark next to the name of your page.

One of the pieces of information they’ll request from you is a document that proves you really are who you say you are. Your driver’s license, birth certificate, or passport will work. If you’re looking for verification for a corporation, then Facebook will also accept a copy of your articles of incorporation.

Note on the documentation: I tried several times to send them a pdf of my driver’s license. They kept claiming the document wasn’t clear enough for them to read. Finally, in desperation, I took a photo of my driver’s license with my phone and sent that to them – and it worked. So you might want to save yourself the aggravation and just take a picture of your document to start with.

One other note: They are only verifying names of people (and corporations) right now. That’s something to think about if you’ve been on the fence about whether to set up one Facebook page for your whole author business, or whether to do separate pages for each of your books or each of your series. You won’t be able to get a verified page for a book.Lynne Cantwell Verified Author Facebook Page

And you want that verified page. No, really, you do. Because for right now, anyway, Facebook appears to be boosting organic reach for verified pages. Since I was awarded the coveted blue check mark for my author page, Facebook has been showing my posts to far more people. In some cases, I’m getting hundreds of impressions on a post that would have gotten me only 15 or 20 in my pre-verified days. And the more people who see a post, the more people who (theoretically) like it or share it – thereby boosting reach even more.

Another perk for those with verified pages is access to a smartphone app called Facebook Mentions, which I’ll talk about next week.

Author: Lynne Cantwell

Lynne Cantwell grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan. She worked as a broadcast journalist for many years; she has written for CNN, the late lamented Mutual/NBC Radio News, and a bunch of radio and TV news outlets you have probably never heard of, including a defunct wire service called Zapnews. But she began as a fantasy writer (in the second grade), and is back at it today. She currently lives near Washington, DC. Learn more about Lynne at her blog and at her Amazon author page.

85 thoughts on “I’m somebody now: Facebook Verified Pages”

  1. I guess since I’m not really who I claim to be that this does me no good. 🙂

    (I’ll refrain from talking about my favorite quote from “The Jerk”)

  2. Lynn– I am amazed at social media’s intrusive methods which reach new heights almost every week. I now have Kirkus following me around on the web because I made an inquiry on their website. It’s creepy!

    1. I know, right, Olivia? Although I think if you clear your cookies, your Kirkus problem will be solved (until you go back and they put another cookie on your computer).

  3. It’s never ending. It’s like playing tail on the donkey. You don’t even need blindfolds to see it’s a walk in the dark.

    Thank you Lynne and Indies Unlimited for lending us some glasses to wear into this ever changing social-media world.

  4. This is so interesting, Lynne. I did not know about this. I tried it but keep getting a message to create a unique website address on FB. I tried Anne Flint/author but I get a message Your Facebook web address must include alphanumeric characters. I’m not sure what this means or I should do. I note yours is https://www.facebook.com/LynneCantwell?fref=nf. Am I supposed to come up with something like that?

    1. That’s an interesting question, Lisa, and I don’t know the answer. I assume they would be able to match up your name as admin for your page, but I what I don’t know is whether that’s enough to get your page verified. If you try it, would you report back? Thanks!

  5. Thanks for this, Lynne. I tried to become somebody a while back (or rather, to have my company become somebody), but they kept telling me it isn’t eligible (this is with articles of incorporation). Maybe I’ll try again – it can’t hurt.

    1. I’m sorry, Jennifer. One of these days, we’re all going to run across a company that tries stuff out on Finns first — and Americans are going to be out of luck. 😀

    1. Okay, thanks for clarifying. Once you have your Facebook author page set up, you should be able to copy the URL from the box at the top of your browser page and paste it into their form for verification.

      But again, you may need 25 likes on your author page before they verify it.

      Good luck!

  6. My problem is in setting up a page for myself as an author. Wish I could give you a screen shot. But I keep getting the message that my unique FB address has to have alphanumberical in it. Your author page is https://www.facebook.com/LynneCantwell?fref=nf. Did you put the question mark after your name and all the other letters and symbols? I don’t know what they want and there faq does not address this.

    1. Anne, if your page is brand new, you may have to wait until you have 25 likes before you can request a custom URL to exclude the numbers. As long as you change it before you reach 100 likes, you can put whatever you want there for now to appease the FB powers that be.

      Lynne’s correct link is actually https://www.facebook.com/LynneCantwell – the other stuff behind it is just referral coding that FB adds when clicking from another page.

  7. Lynne, this is great, but I’m having a problem. I’m logged into my author page. The about page is complete except for the space for my celebrity brand, which is will now allow me to fill in. Then, when I’m at the “fill out this form” page I see no spot to connect to or identify my Author page. What am I missing? (your computer dummy)

    1. It’s possible that it’s not available in Canada, Yvonne. 🙁

      But also, FB is smart enough to know which pages are yours — that’s why they want you signed in when you fill out the form. If they let you submit the form, and you only have one page, rest assured that they will pick the right one. 🙂 (They won’t let me back in to look at the form again because they know my page is already verified.)

  8. Yes, I’ve definitely seen a boost in my posts since I got verified. It used to be that only the posts with pics reached over 100 people, but now even the ones with a link will reach that many or more. Beats the paltry 10 or 15 from pre-checkmark days!

  9. I may be a bit of a dinosaur here, but I refuse to give Facebook and other such places info like my driver’s licence, passport, birth certificate or other such personal info. Too easy for identification fraud, and I would not trust their security protocols.
    Set up a writer page and indie publishing page a few years ago with limited success, but I’d rather that than giving such personal info to anyone who asks. Guess that means I stay unverified. Not that I knew anything about a verification component, so thank you for the info, Lynn.

    I rather like Kim Luck’s verification quote from MASH – This is me

    1. Jeannie, I wasn’t at all concerned about giving FB my driver’s license image. The number on the license is never used for anything else — just my license. Maybe I’m not imaginative enough, but how could it be misused? Nobody’s going to be able to open a credit card account with just my DL image and number. They may be able to access my driving record, but why would they want to?

      Same with my passport. The US government has those pretty well locked down — if you don’t have the actual passport book with the electronic ID thingum in the back, I really don’t think there’s much a crook could do with it.

      Now in the old days, when my Social Security number was my driver’s license number…. 😉

      1. Just last week, the US government federal employees’ data for 4 MILLION people was hacked, meaning ALL data …medical, oension fund, opassport clearances, along with all private data on workers. The hackers were thought to come from overseas ad apparently hacked into a high level government secured high security system. So much for cant be done. It has literally put millions of workers and their dependents at risk for the data stolen was supposed to have been ace-private. It isnt. It wasnt. I wish it were not so, but one who does not have an evil mind does not often consider how evil some can be–and in ways that will now deeply affect the innocent, and deleteriously, for many many months and years to come.

        1. I mentioned this hack earlier in the comments, USAF, and that it’s suspected the Chinese government is behind it. But you’re talking apples and oranges. My giving my driver’s license to Facebook is light years away, in terms of risk, from Chinese hackers breaking into OPM’s computer system. Purportedly, the hackers were looking for the sort of information they could use to turn federal workers into spies for China — which, again, is not the sort of info your garden-variety hacker would get from a driver’s license.

      2. Hi Lynne
        Licences, for example, contain lots of ID information.
        Over here in Aus, certainly can open bank accounts with such ID. In fact, it’s kinda mandatory. Can also access or close existing ones, so anyone with my licence (or number) can log onto my bank, go through the “forgotten password” protocol and empty my accounts. Can also open a credit card account and run up massive debt in my name.
        Or even be brazen enough to fake a licence, put their picture on it and walk right into any bank or other organisation. Among many, many other things.
        Pretty much, assume my identity and become me. It really is that easy.

        1. Jeannie, it used to be that easy in the States, too, but no longer. We had a problem in Virginia (where I live) with terrorists getting driver’s licenses by working with someone inside the DMV. Since then, the state has cracked down. My photo and signature are embedded in my license in ways difficult to counterfeit. And unlike the old days, when you could get a new license on the spot at any DMV branch, now they’re all printed and mailed from Richmond.

          Although if somebody would like to use my license to open a new bank account in my name and put money into it, I wouldn’t complain. 😉

          1. Glad it works for you, Lynne. Guess it all comes down to people being informed and then making their own choices.

    2. agree totally Jeannie

      there are many ways to verify an account without having to give your passport, driver’s lic or birth certificate. How intrusive and facebook collecting such personal data will do what with it? Beware, for it is not stated. Fb has played utterly loose with privacy issues before. Nope, it’s a pass on this one. We know that a higher number of ‘likes’ does not convert into sales. If one has repetitive and ‘verifiable’ proof of that, I’d like to see it.

      1. Again, social media isn’t about getting direct sales — it’s about getting your name out there. See my post on effective frequency awhile back.

  10. Thanks for the info. It sounded interesting, but I had to put the brakes on when they asked for an “official document” (drivers license, passport, or birth certificate). Yikes. Giving Facebook (or anyone online) this information goes against everything I’ve ever been taught about protecting your identity.

    1. Another one. What, pray tell, is a crook going to do with any of this information? Don’t give out your Social Security number, yes — that’s a no-brainer, as it unlocks your credit history. But your birth certificate? Your driver’s license? As I said above, maybe I’m not imaginative enough, but I just don’t see the harm.

      And anyway, FB isn’t just requiring this documentation from people who want verified pages. I know of several people who used either nicknames or aliases to sign up for personal FB accounts, and FB has shut them down until they can provide exactly this same info to prove they’re using their real names.

    2. you are correct Bruce. Being in the law profession, just taking birth certificates into account, access to a birth cert means a criminal can copy the birth certificate info, easily write to the state for a replacement copy, give said birth certificate to gain passport, and to proceed in anything cross borders or cross state lines from trafficking , illegal arms, weapons, etc, for most often they often ave an arrest record and now moving under YOUR name and private credentials, can evade detection much more easily. As I said, people who do not have evil minds do not think of evil uses …. but if one googles even mildly, criminal use of passports, criminal use of birth certs, criminal use of drivers lic, one will soon be right in the thick of it.

      I’d suggest huge caution about giving facebook, in particular, anything they could not get on their own. Zuckerberg could verify people’s pages without private docs. What Zuck plans to do with people’s ultra private docs is not stated. As usual.

  11. You would have to be very FOOLISH to give a private multinational corporation which has a long history of questionable violations of people’s privacy such deeply intimate personal information.

    In my day-job as an attorney, I’ve had to help people clean up issues of identity theft, including identity theft off of Facebook. Not even HOSPITALS are allowed to force you to give out this kind of information (except the driver’s license to verify identity) and you are, in turn, protected by the vigorous HIPA Health Insurance Portability and Protection Act which has stringent record-keeping policies and harsh federal penalties if they have a data breach. Hospitals ask for more information, but if you refuse, which is what I advise, they cannot force you to give it.

    Credit card companies and banks -also- have laws that state how they can and cannot use your data, and strict penalties if they have a data breach. Facebook is not covered under those laws, either.

    Private corporations, on the other hand, have NO such laws dictating how they have to store and protect their data. They can say whatever they want, but then they can change it and do something else and you have no recourse because the law presumes you are not FOOLISH enough to do that.

    This is a massive over-reach by Facebook. I know of people who had their personal information hacked off of there that then spent thousands of dollars and irreparable damage to their credit rating. There is a better way … Google+ verifies you are who you are simply by asking you to give a land-line telephone number. You push ‘enter,’ you get an instant telephone call, it asks you to press ‘1’ if you just asked them to call. Wallah! You are verified. It’s a lot easier to change your telephone number than rebuild a credit report from scratch.

    DO NOT GIVE FACEBOOK THIS INFORMATION!!! I AM TELLING YOU THIS IN MY LAWYERLY CAPACITY!!! THEY DO NOT NEED IT. YOU HAVE NO RECOURSE IF THEY GIVE IT OUT TO THE WRONG PERSON AND NO GUARANTEE THEY ARE EVEN KEEPING IT ON A SECURE SERVER!

    I bill out at $300 per hour. After

    1. Again, Anna: What can FB do with my driver’s license number? Because that’s all I gave them.

      Given that the Chinese have apparently hacked into computers run owned by the US Office of Personnel Management, I don’t think anyone is completely safe from identity theft anymore, no matter what we do. So what’s the next step — refusing to give your *employer* your Social Security number because someone might hack into their computer?

      This is the same fear-mongering, imho, that has gotten us to the point where we have to pay $100 to the government for the privilege of NOT having to undress and unpack just to get through airport security.

      You can practice paranoia or you can live your life. Your choice.

      1. Unless one has a law degree and the experience to go with it helping those whose bank accounts have been depleted, college funds emptied out, pension savings devastated, credit ruined, unable to get loans or buy a car, or get health insurance because someone else has stolen everything they have in terms of financial stability– I’m sorry… I’d say those with the creds first person re how brutal id theft can be, take precedence. Given FB’s history abject disregard for privacy — caution ought be the rule of the day. Because once the data is stolen, like a feather bed slashed and emptied into the wind, trying to re-gather up every feather, is impossible. If people knew the devastations it brings, they would be ultra cautious. it isnt fear mongering. It’s analysis, taking into account fb’s past behaviors, and knowing for a fact, privacy is not their agenda. Making money is their agenda. Period. They have shareholders to please. Making money selling, trading, etc is where fb’s heart has been displaced to. Fine. But it’s not paranoia. It’s the right of every person to know all the facts, to weigh and analyze them and decide for themselves. If they want to risk it, fine. But if they do not, it is also fine. Just my .02

    2. Agree with your analyses Anna. Thing is, it seems most persons on facebook are in several ways vulnerable, the least of which is esp those in authoring/artisting/ nonprofits/religious groups have tied their star to fb as a communications tool and often have no other platform similar. A website is not the same in terms of cross fertilizations.

      I’d agree with you about Google +, and also about Paypal and the ethical mission of Kickstarter.

      The idea that one’s reach is ‘extended’ by giving such personal data, is sophistry in my opinion, as fb has been strangling the reach of page owners for nearly two years now, attempting to squeeze the page owner [owner being used loosely] to pay fb money for reach to EXACTLY those who have already ‘liked’ the page. My cohort which is more than 100k strong, reports that their reach as per likes, went from say, 90% long ago, to 20-25% reached now. Without paying to reach all the rest signed on. So, all facts have to be taken into account to assess this newest gig, remembering what the Aggies mean when they say ‘gig ’em.’ lol

      I think just be calm and aware, look into every angle. Then decide. We’ve opted out continuously, and move our new and old likes over to our website and email list, as that too, fb collects [all the ‘likes’ email addys] but does not share those with the individuals who wrote the cool content that drew those ‘likes’ to begin with. We’ve found several workarounds to help readers find us without having to stay at fb turf if they prefer not to have bollixed up and manipulated newsfeeds, for instance, because of Fb’s intrusions.

  12. Anna, thank you for this. I’ve been debating this back and forth. I feel like they already know all this anyway. Certainly we are being tracked by our phones every minute they are on. I don’t know how often our phone numbers are connected to our names but certainly everyone and their brother has my number because I’m called all the time with solicitations. Are drivers licenses public info? We are blasted with adds for anything we looked up on the internet. Would you please comment on this?

    1. Thanks, Nickie. That’s exactly my point — if somebody wants your address and phone number, they don’t have to go to the trouble of hacking into Facebook to get it.

      And if Facebook is looking for info to use for marketing purposes, they’ve already got all of that at their fingertips — all they have to do is look at what we post on our timelines. Which they do already.

    2. Can you give me links to those places Nicole? I’d like to go see who’s sponsoring it and what ads are running. Thanks.

  13. Being a bit paranoid about who you give credit card numbers to, I understand. Online, depending on the site, you don’t always know who you’re dealing with and as the Target situation showed, even if it is an apparently reputable company that should be safeguarding the information, stuff happens. Even using a CC in the physical world has risks. We’ve heard lots of stories about clerks at stores or waiting staff at restaurants with devices that capture CC numbers to sell or in the past getting the same information from carbon paper before everyone went electronic.

    So if your drivers license number is of any significant value in identity theft, why are we not hearing horror stories about this? Surely there are shady clerks at the DMV, your car insurance agency, or people working the door at bars and clubs who are in a position to easily capture these and sell them, just like with CC numbers. I can’t believe if these numbers have any value that this isn’t happening and that no one has figured it out or been caught.

    1. Thanks for the backup, Al. 🙂

      Another thing: birth certificates, in particular, are public records. Anybody can go down to the courthouse in the county where you were born, find yours, and make a copy. But why? Why would a crook go to the trouble of doing that when CC skimming programs are so much more efficient at getting what they want, which is your CC info?

      1. birth certificates are public record if they are your own birth certificate. Many states will not allow you to apply for someone else’s birth certificate under penalty of law, for the documents as stated are used by many in nefarious operations. There are also a minimum of 2 Million adoptees in the US whose birth certificates are sealed. No, they are not public record. However, when a person dies, if you provide their death certificate, many a state will allow you to apply for a birth certificate for that person. Also the DEATH INDEX of SS will list a persons birthdate, deathdate and ss. Their ss is retired when they die, and used to be, but is no longer, easily pilfered. Many a person in prison can tell you all about how to use a dead person’s identity for their own. To terrible tragic ends.

  14. As an ex-crime reporter I would not think of so quickly rejecting the professional advice of a practising lawyer. This may fall under the be-careful-what-you-wish-for category. You may end up with unwanted as well as wanted attention.

    1. I hope that’s not a veiled threat, mrstorie. My day job involves working with lawyers whose billable rates are more than twice what Ms. Erishkigal says hers is. And I used to be a reporter, too.

      1. Still think it’s important for people to be utterly free to choose re this ongoing matter with fb. If you feel clear Lynne, that’s fine. But others have opinions also. Unless this not a forum for free expression. I thought it was. I know more than a handful of accountants, cpa’s, lawyers and etc who attempt yes, to help people steer clear of trouble before the fact. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, for the enthusiasitc and naive, it can be so useful. I like hearing from actual lawyers. Weighing what they have to say too.

        1. USAF, I’m attempting to respond to every post because I wrote this article. That has always been my practice — to respond to every post on each of my articles.

          Of course, you are welcome to agree or disagree. Clearly, you believe I’m some sort of Pollyanna for perceiving a minimum of risk in sharing my driver’s license with Facebook. (BTW, I did not share with them the reverse, where the barcode is.) As you say, each of us must make our own decisions about what to share with whom. You choose not to do it; that is your prerogative; and now I hope we can agree to disagree.

  15. All over the Internet, we see attorneys insisting that none of their comments are to be construed as legal advice, and yet here’s a lawyer who’s actually giving advice online. Here, too, is a former crime reporter who’s saying listen to the lawyer or else we might find ourselves in Big Trouble.

    But ANYBODY can say ANYTHING on the Internet. We can never afford to blindly trust that people who post comments on blogs and message boards are who they say they are and know what they say they know. But hold on, I’m not trying to insult anyone who has commented here. I’m just pointing out that WE DON’T KNOW YOU. If you truly ARE an attorney and a fact-checking ex-reporter, then you will certainly understand why readers would be foolish indeed to blindly accept advice posted in a forum like this.

    Smart people will read this blog post and the comments and will then do their OWN thinking and researching before deciding whether or not to trust Facebook with their personal information.

    By the way, Lynne, I am photographing my driver’s license right now. Many thanks for the helpful post.
    🙂

  16. Re this article and the comments thread: As MacDonald’s say: I’m lovin’ it!

    Great work, Lynne! 🙂

  17. I filled out the form and sent it with a pic of my driver’s license. I remember a split second of seeing something like, “Thanks, we’ll be back with you shortly,” on the screen. But the doorbell rang just then and I closed everything before answering. Now I don’t know exactly what to expect nor can I find any way to get back to where I was. I hoped for a confirming email that I had applied, at least. I guess I’ll just have to wait for them to “get back with me shortly.” And that was either on the 4th or 5th. (This of course isn’t your problem, Lynne. I’m just sayin.) Anyone know how long this takes?

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