Differences Between a Name & Username on Facebook

by Kefa Olang

Both Facebook names and usernames can be used to identify your account. A name is a mandatory requirement, especially for social interaction and privacy, but usernames are optional customization preferences. Although they are different in many ways, they can both help improve your social networking experience.

Facebook Names

Facebook requires you to enter your real name to sign up for an account. When you enter your real name, it appears on your account, and your friends use it to identify your timeline. Facebook makes this a requirement, especially for security and privacy. When you sign up for a Facebook account, your name cannot include symbols, numbers and repeating characters. Facebook also rejects names with titles, multiple character languages, nicknames in place of middle names, and offensive content. Timelines are for individual use, so only one name can be attached to an account. Facebook names can be changed later after setting up an account.


Usernames serve a completely different purpose than Facebook names. After creating a Facebook account, creating a username allows you to customize your timeline's Web address, a feature that can prove useful, especially if you want people to find you on Facebook. A username appears in the address bar following "facebook.com" when open to your profile. For example; if your name is John Smith, your profile address might be "facebook.com/john.smith." A username can also be used as your Facebook email address (e.g, john.smith@facebook.com). Unlike a Facebook name, a username can include alphanumeric characters and a period. They must also be at least five characters long, and can only be changed once.


People on Facebook can search for you using your full name; however, they cannot search for you with the username. The username is instead a direct link to your profile. No two usernames are the same, which means whenever it's selected and then typed into the address bar it will direct to your profile.

Creating Facebook Usernames

Unlike a Facebook name, usernames are not mandatory. You can still use Facebook without a username. If you want to make it easier for people to locate your timeline, however, creating a username can be beneficial. In order to set one up, click the gear menu and click "Account Settings." Click the "General" link to display the General Account Settings. When you click the "Edit" link in the Username section, Facebook provides an option to create a username. When you enter the desired username, Facebook will check its availability, and if the name has already been taken, you can either continue to enter other options or choose on that appears on the suggestions list.

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