Only the more popular users (think Lady Gaga) with plenty of followers can have their accounts verified, and we don’t expect this to become mainstream in the not so distant future.
Users who can participate will be automatically notified, after which they can opt to have their accounts verified. To do so they need to submit an image of a government-issued photo ID, which Facebook promises will be deleted after the verification process.
Before, you could only display a nickname by changing your official name (go figure).
It has been only 3 months since Facebook launched their public subscription feature, which enables users to subscribe to public updates from people they aren’t friends with (similar to Twitter’s core business).