25th June 2009

    Putting a Name to the Face: Facebook Usernames

    Thoughts By 8 years ago

    One of Facebook’s latest additions, usernames, allows individuals to personalize their Facebook URL. These have been available from midnight of June 13th. According to Facebook blog, a username will make it easier for friends and family to find you. It will heighten authenticity and create a trusted environment. These selling points emphasise this tool is optional and secure.

    A major issue resulting from usernames is what Facebook have dubbed “name squatting”. To avoid a stranger pinching your identity Facebook staff have introduced a number of steps to combat this issue.
    1. Only owners of accounts existing before the announcement date (3pm, June 9th, 2009) are eligible for a username.
    2. Names have been reserved which ‘have been brought to our [Facebook’s] attention in an effort to help third parties protect their intellectual property and other rights.’
    3. A non-transferable policy.

    Usernames have inspired a mixed reaction from Facebook users. However, statistics give a clear idea of the popularity. ½ a million users signed up within 15 minutes and nearly 6 million by the end of the day on Sunday. Celebrities have been quick to join, with URLs such as www.facebook.com/britneyspears and www.facebook.com/PMKevinRudd in use.

    By introducing a tool that is by no means a new one, Facebook makes another move in the fast-paced evolution of social media.

    • I guess this is similar to what happens with domain names, companies paying huge amounts to regain access of their company or brand relevant IP.

      So, is there anything stopping me from registering multiple names of products and famous people, then offering to sell it back?

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