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Apparently, us commoners get a pretty different taste of Facebook than our more famous counterparts with the publicly available app. In June of 2014, Facebook released an application, Facebook Mentions, that is selectively available only to actors, musicians, athletes, and other celebrities. It is currently offered as the 3.4 version of the original release, showing that the app is popular among its user base.

In order to gain access to this exclusive app, your account has to be verified by Facebook– so, you have to be a decently well-known journalist, blogger, actor, etc. Unfortunately, this means that the majority of us will not be able to access Facebook Mentions anytime soon, and so we are denied access to features such as live video streaming, starting Q&As with our friends/followers, and viewing our mentions on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook simultaneously on one app.

Why should celebrities get more features on social networking apps than the masses? Sure, they probably get better use out of the features, but that doesn’t mean that they’re the only ones who could benefit from the features. Is this an advertising ploy to make the Facebook Mentions app more desirable to the general public, so that if/when it’s released to everyone, we’ll all jump at the opportunity?

One of the (small) differences between the regular Facebook app and Facebook Mentions. Image courtesy of James Cook.

Some of the (small) differences between the regular Facebook app and Facebook Mentions. Image courtesy of journalist James Cook.

Honestly, we’re not missing out on much. Personally, I wouldn’t want to share a live Facebook video stream with all of my “friends,” or open up a Q&A to my entire list. But does that mean that I shouldn’t have the opportunity to? Is it wrong of Facebook, and other social media platforms, to create features that are only available to mainstream celebrities? Are they implying that those people are more important to them than the majority of their users by dedicating an entire app just for them?

The idea of so-called “special treatment” for famous accounts on social media sites is not new. Twitter, in 2013, created a new feature where verified users (authentic celebrities) could choose to filter the tweets that they see by verification status– basically, they could choose to see only tweets from other celebrities, creating a little Twitter network of their own.

However, no platform had gone so far yet as to roll out an entire application that is not available to the majority of their user base. Will this have repercussions for the relationship between the platform and its users? Or will it provoke a positive response, urging the platform to release the app to the public?

Or, will users simply not care enough, or know enough, to react?

Feature image courtesy of the Facebook Mentions official site.

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