Though Facebook's origins were in exclusivity, serving only college students for some time, the service has since expanded out to billions of people around the world. Today, Facebook's launching a new approach to exclusivity, and it sounds sadly familiar to reality: "Facebook Mentions" is a new iOS app that only "public figures" can use. What's a "public figure?" The usual suspects: especially high-profile celebrities, journalists, government officials, and popular brands/businesses. So, the rich and/or famous? Got it.

So, what does the app do? It's a much more brand-centric approach to using Facebook (which, yes, includes people who are brands unto themselves -- Kanye West, for instance). As Recode's Facebook-verified Peter Kafka explains it:

  • "The emphasis is on posting new messages, photos and videos, instead of reading what your pals have put up.
  • There is a Mentions tab that's supposed to make it easy for stars to see what people are saying about them. It looks strikingly like the '@' tab that Twitter has always had - and also uses the term 'mentions.' It is another in a series of moves that are ... inspired by Twitter's playbook."

It also enables those with access to host live Q&A sessions, as well as streamlining the multimedia sharing aspects of Facebook. You've probably seen it in action before: apparently that Dr. Dre/Tyrese celebration video that went live just ahead of the Beats purchase by Apple was through Facebook Mentions.

In so many words, Mentions is a tool designed specifically for people who have assistants to manage their social media profiles. If you're one of those people (or their assistant) and don't yet have access, you can download the app and request it right here.

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Facebook's got a new app and you (probably) can't have it