Facebook just introduced a subtle tweak to its user experience: Personal profiles can now be quickly and efficiently converted to business Pages, turning your friends into fans. Facebook is realizing, it seems, that a good way to future profits is to court industry partners.
With the launch of a new migration tool, Facebook is letting single users around the world create a more business-centric, limited form of Facebook entry that allows business to have thousands of "fans" rather than acting as an interactive friend resource. There's an extensive help center and FAQ page for people considering the act to download and save data from their existing profile (because once converted, there's no way back...and a Page has a more limited searchability and utility than a Profile).
Why would people want to use the tool, though? Facebook's spinning it as a way to get people to comply with its T&C's for personal use--according to these regulations it's a "violation of Facebook's Statements of Rights and Responsibilities to maintain a profile for anything other than an individual person," and the company is probably trying to push users who've been promoting a business entity through FB toward a more standardized Pages profile (possibly with one eye on any sort of future privacy lawsuits).
A user may choose to migrate to the Pages system because while it has restrictions, such as the inability to friend people or follow the usual social networking status-update shares, it does allow you to surpass the 5,000 friend limit because followers of a Page are "fans" not "friends." It's also a simpler system, so it's probably less effort to run the page for PR purposes, a burden that could quickly become onerous considering the high number of social portals Net-savvy businesses have to keep track of nowadays. Plus the business-centric Pages system allows for easy administration of contests and competitions, and the API can let you build a Facebook-based landing page for your website.
Pages are, of course, a useful tool for business and as more and more businesses of all sorts use the social network to advertise and engage with their audience, Facebook will likely continue to make tweaks to appeal to the corporate world. After all, engaging in a better way with companies that may end up using Facebook's advertising engines can only result in more income.
Read More: Most Innovative Companies: Facebook