Britain’s royal family on Facebook

Sunday, November 7, 2010

LONDON - Britain’s queen Elizabeth II Saturday became a member of Facebook as she opened the royal family’s official account on the social networking website to reach out to the netizens.

Unlike some of the younger royals, who have been caught out when their private moments were revealed online, the official page for the British monarchy will strictly concern itself with official news and engagements.

Facebook users, who send virtual “pokes” to attract each other’s attention, will be able to receive frequent updates on the royal family’s activities by “liking” the new account, the Daily Mail reported Sunday.

The page will feature images, videos, news and speeches as well as an application which enables subjects to search for royal events in their area through the Court Circular, the official record of the royal family’s engagements that has been produced daily since 1803.

“The Queen has approved the decision - she knows all about Facebook,” says an aide.

“Facebook is the final frontier of the royal family’s foray into digital technology. It’s basically the Royal Household’s way of broadening its appeal and communicating to members of the public. The Queen knows all her grandchildren use Facebook and it would be remiss of the Household not to be keeping up-to-date with the web.”

Earlier this year the monarchy opened an account on the photo-sharing website Flickr, which to date hosts more than 1,400 pictures.

Last year a royal Twitter account known as @BritishMonarchy was launched. It now has almost 70,000 followers and has posted more than 4,500 “tweets”. The Household has also had a YouTube channel since October 2007.

Princes William and Harry both have pages on the site under secret names. Their pages have strict privacy settings which do not allow users, even if they know the code name, to access their pictures or wall or add them as a friend.

The high privacy settings were installed after a series of Facebook pranks in 2007 when an internet user set up a fake page in the name of William Wales and successfully “added” a number of Prince William’s real friends, including Harry’s former girlfriend Chelsy Davy and polo-playing pal Luke Tomlinson.

William has since set up other Facebook pages under the pseudonyms “Wills Wombat Wales” and “Bobby Davro”.

Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice have both improved their privacy settings after being caught out. Both Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie also have Facebook pages with large numbers of friends.

Facebook, started by a Harvard undergraduate in 2004, boasts 500 million users worldwide.

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