Ed Sheeran

Urban music sensation Ed Sheeran is the first Brit to have received an invite to Facebook's version of the VIP area: Mentions, the celebrities-only Facebook app. The Suffolk-born singer-songwriter now stands alongside the likes of Mariah Carey, Arianna Huffington and Kim Kardashian.

Mentions, open only to "actors, athletes, musicians and other influencers", allows celebrities to see messages and shares relating to them and reply, as well as post updates and take part in live chats. They also won't be plagued by ads, newsfeed spam or BuzzFeed quizzes imploring them to find out what sort of soup they are. A cynic might wonder if Facebook had spotted Twitter cornering the "chatting directly with celebrities" market and responded by giving them their very own "reply to your fans" app.

So, are you famous enough for Mentions? Only invited celebrities with pages verified by Facebook in the US can post. (They plan to launch the service in more countries in the "near future".) Public figures can download Mentions and request access, but it's very much a "don't call us, we'll call you" membership, which Facebook says it will limit to "a few thousand" people.

It may be regretting inviting William Shatner, though, after the actor posted a grumpy review on his Tumblr when the app invited him to follow former Star Trek co-star George Takei. Clearly it had not been briefed about the pair's long-standing feud.

Shatner also took umbrage with the fact that members must follow other celebrities in order to set up the app. "I think that is a flaw," he said. "I'm already following those who I want to follow – why insist I follow that short list of others?" We're with you, Mr Shatner. That sounds absolutely awful. You have our not-at-all-sarcastic pity for this grave injustice.

• This article was amended on 29 July 2014. The original stated that any Facebook user could download the Mentions app. This has been corrected. The article was further amended on 1 August 2014 to remove comments that were reported to have come from Ed Sheeran's spokesman but were found to be incorrect.


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