What Names Are Not Allowed on Facebook?

By Tom Ianello

One of the requirements for creating a Facebook personal account, page or group is that you adhere to Facebook's name guidelines. These guidelines are designed to prevent people from misrepresenting themselves, and also to maintain a clean, professional look and feel across the entire website. Violating the Facebook name guidelines can lead to account suspension or deletion, which is why knowing what you can and can't use in your name when you first set up an account or page for your business can save you from problems in the future.

Timeline Name Guidelines

Facebook requires that you use your real name on your Timeline -- your Facebook profile -- as it appears on official identification like a driver's license or student identification card, in order to keep users honest and aware of who they are interacting with. Creating an account using a name that is not your own is not allowed; Facebook takes misrepresentation and impersonation very seriously. Names cannot include punctuation, such as John, Smith; characters that repeat, such as Joooohn Smiiiith; unusual capitalization, such as JoHn sMiTH; or numbers or symbols, such as John Smith #1. Your name must not use characters from more than one language, and you cannot use any sort of titles -- Archbishop John Smith or Dr. John Smith -- or replace a middle name with non-name words, phrases or nicknames. Any offensive or suggestive content is also prohibited.

Full Name Alternatives

Nicknames that are derived from your real first or last name, such as Rick instead of Richard, can be used as your first or middle name. If you would like to associate a different name with your account, such as a professional alias, nickname or maiden name, you can click on the "Account" drop-down menu arrow in the top-right of any Facebook page, select "Account Settings," locate the Name field and select edit. If you want this name to appear on your Timeline, check the box next to "Include This on my Profile (Timeline)". If you leave this blank, your alternate name only shows up when people search for you. In addition, only one name is allowed per Facebook account. For example, a married couple cannot put both of their names on one account. Each person must create a separate account.

Page Name Guidelines

Facebook Pages can be created and maintained by official representatives of a business or company, organization, artist, band, public figure, institution, product, brand or entertainment service. Page name guidelines are similar to personal account name guidelines, but vary slightly due to the nature of the entity being represented. Names cannot include abusive terms or phrases. Only plain text is allowed: No unnecessary, repetitive or illogical punctuation is allowed, nor are any symbols. Names must use proper capitalization that is grammatically correct; words in all capital letters and superfluous capitalization are prohibited. Page names must also be concise and not exceedingly long; this means no unnecessary taglines, descriptions or qualifiers like "authentic" or "official." Only qualifiers related to regional or geographical locations and demographics are allowed, such as "Northern California Young Democrats." Lastly, Page names may not use any variation of the word "Facebook" in order to avoid any suggestion that the Page is affiliated with Facebook.

Personal Name Changes

Should you realize that the name on your personal Timeline is not in compliance with Facebook name guidelines, or wish to modify your name to something more recognizable, you can change your name in your Account Settings. Click on the "Name" section, type your desired name, and save your changes. Facebook gives you a limited number of times that you can change your name, so be certain that you're changing it to what you want. If a Facebook representative changes your name for you due to name guideline violations, you will no longer have the option of changing it yourself. Name changes are subject to approval. If your name change request is not approved, and you believe it adheres to the guidelines and was not approved by mistake, you can make an appeal to Facebook to investigate the matter. This procedure requires that you upload a copy of a government-issued photo ID to confirm your identity.

Page Name Changes

As of August 2012, Facebook does not accept name change requests for Pages with over 200 likes. If your page qualifies for a name change, you can click the "Edit Page" button at the top of your page, select "Edit Info," make your desired changes and click the "Save" button.