by Brent Dirks
August 13, 2013
Unless you’re a celebrity, you can’t use Facebook’s newest app. According to AllThingsD, the social networking giant is testing a program that allows VIPs to monitor Facebook fan chatter about themselves from a mobile device. With the app, the rich and famous can respond to comments from fans and become part of the conversation:
The project, which is in its early days, is another part of Facebook’s push to encourage celebrities to share more stuff on the site. And that’s part of Facebook’s larger push to compete more directly with Twitter for “public” sharing. The idea: If a star pushed out a status update to fans that caused a rather large amount of chatter — like, say, Kobe Bryant’s late-night torrent of scattered thoughts from a few months ago — the new app would make it easier to see the swirling commentary from fans, and mix it up with them. That’s important for Facebook, which could stand to see more user/celeb engagement. Twitter, by contrast, makes it far easier for a celeb to monitor their fans’ chatter, with the ability to quickly scan down a column of @replies from fans, and to respond in kind. “We are currently testing some mobile features designed to help public figures interact with their fans,” a Facebook spokesperson told AllThingsD. “We are testing these features with a small group of partners and will share more details should we roll it out more widely.”The app is part of Facebook’s strategy to cultivate more public activity on the service like rival Twitter. Just yesterday, Facebook’s iOS app for the rest of us was updated with the ability to search for specific hashtags or to tap them in posts to see what other people are saying about the topic.