Facebook to Allow User Names Beginning June 13

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-06-09 Print this article Print

The idea, Facebook designer Blaise DiPersia wrote in a message to all the site's users, is to enable people to find their friends faster by being able to type a user name as part of the URL.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Saturday, June 13, social networking giant Facebook will begin allowing its users to identify themselves through a user name in addition to their real names on their profile pages.

At that time, users will be able to choose a user name on a first-come, first-served basis for their profiles and the Facebook Pages they administer by visiting this Facebook page. Users also will receive a notice on their home page with instructions for obtaining a user name.

The idea, Facebook designer Blaise DiPersia wrote June 9 in a message to all Facebook users, is to enable people to find their friends faster by being able to type a user name as part of the URL.

"When your friends, family members or co-workers visit your profile or Pages on Facebook, they will be able to enter your user name as part of the URL in their browser," DiPersia wrote. "This way people will have an easy-to-remember way to find you."

For the five years of its existence, Facebook's content management system has assigned random numbers to each person's profile page URL, such as "id=592952074." Starting June 13, if a user isn't already connected to a friend and isn't able to find his or her name through the site's search function, the user can simply replace the nine-digit number with the friend's user name.

The user name also can be used in the search function. The friend's site then is supposed to pop right up.

"From the beginning of Facebook, people have used their real names to share and connect with the people they know," DiPersia wrote. "This authenticity helps to create a trusted environment because you know the identity of the people and things on Facebook.

"The one place, though, where your identity wasn't reflected was in the Web address for your profile or the Facebook Pages you administer."

Facebook user names will be available in basic text forms, DiPersia said. Users may only choose a single user name for their profiles and for each of the pages they administer. User names must be at least five characters in length and only include alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9), or a period.

"Think carefully about the user name you choose," DiPersia said. "Once it's been selected, you won't be able to change or transfer it. If you signed up for a Facebook Page after May 31 or a user profile after today [June 9] at 3 p.m. EDT, you may not be able to sign up for a user name immediately because of steps we've taken to prevent abuse or 'squatting' on names."

See this FAQ for more information. If you want to ensure you keep the rights for a trademark or other protected name, contact Facebook here.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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