How to Change Your Name on Facebook
Changing your name on Facebook is both easier and harder than you would think. Facebook has long required people to use their legal names. Whether you are getting married, updating your name to reflect your current status in life, or for whatever reasons you may have, the Social Media giant does give you some name change options but with restrictions.
These days, Facebook still requires users to use their true names, with minor exceptions. They have long maintained that people are more accountable to their words and actions when forced to act under their real identity.
Facebook requires them to do so in an effort to foster an online environment where users feel secure. There is just one problem. While the steps for changing your name are rather straight-forward, you might find yourself roadblocked by Facebook’s name policies. This guide will show you how to change a profile name and walk you through the naming rules you’re expected to follow.
Why Change Your Name At All?
If Facebook only wants your legal name, what is the point in allowing people to change it at all? In truth, there are a handful of instances where users might want or need to make changes. For example:
- Your legal name changes due to marriage or divorce.
- Your legal name changes as part of gender reassignment.
- You want to use an acceptable form of your legal name (i.e. your first two initials and last name).
- You were not using your true name before and somehow managed to fly under Facebook’s radar.
Whatever your reasons, the steps for getting the job done are pretty simple.
How to Change Your Facebook Profile Name
If you need to change or update your name on Facebook, follow these steps below to complete the process:
- To begin, open Facebook on your web browser and log in.
- Click the dropdown menu located in the top right of the screen (directly right of the Help icon).
- Select Settings and Privacy then Settings.
- In the General column to the left, click Edit next to your name.
- Edit your name in the provided fields. the click Review Change when done. You will be prompted to enter your account password for security. Once successful you can click the Save Changes option to submit your name change request.
These steps may vary slightly depending on whether you are using the New Facebook or the older version.
Your name change must be approved by Facebook before it registers on your account. The approval process can take up to 24 hours but assuming that your change falls within Facebook’s guidelines you should be fine. Also, keep in mind that it does take 60 days to change your name again, so give it some thought before saving the changes.
Why Was My Name Change Rejected?
Facebook may not approve the change for a variety of reasons. Let us say you did your research and know for a fact that your name falls within their guidelines. Why else might they be stopping the change?
- You may be changing your name too frequently. Facebook requires at least 60 days to pass between name changes, regardless of the validity of those names.
- You’ve previously been asked to confirm your name on Facebook with your ID. If Facebook has suspected your account before, they might look for proof before approving the change.
- If they have asked you for identification, the ID provided may not match their list of acceptable identification.
Whatever the reason, do not sweat it. Facebook is not out to get you. They want your profile to be safe and accurate for you and your friends. Chances are you will be able to get the name change resolved with time.
Facebook Name Guidelines and Rules
So, what names are allowed on Facebook? The more accurate question is what names are not allowed. Facebook has a detailed list of items that names can not be or have. Make sure your new name does not have any of the following:
- Special characters (like, $, #, or @).
- Unusual punctuation, spacing, or capitalization. What unusual means might be up for debate. You will need to hash that out with Facebook.
- Characters from more than one language.
- Titles (like Dr, Prof, or Sir). Even if the title is legitimate, Facebook doesn’t want it.
- Words or phrases that are obviously not names. This is left up to the discretion of the person reviewing your change request.
- Offensive words.
- Joint names. This does not refer to hyphenated names. This basically means that two people can’t share a profile.
- Names with all the vowels removed.
- Repeating characters. We presume this means having a letter repeated an unusual number of times (like Aneglaaaaaaa).
Of course, some names have odd capitalization or punctuation. Some names might even legally contain special characters. Does that mean Facebook just does not like your name? There’s a good a chance Facebook will make an exception for you if you provide acceptable ID proving that your name looks exactly the way you’ve spelled it. In the meantime, they have some other guidelines to help users choose the right name for their account.
- Pick the name your friends call you. Really, this means that you should pick the name you are known by. If your name is Susan and your friends call you Bacon, you are probably not going to get that approved.
- Nicknames are OK, but only variations on your real name. In other words, Bacon is out, but Susie is in.
- Never pretend to be anyone you’re not. Avoid fake celebrity accounts. Avoid making accounts for your pets.
- Always use your full last name. Facebook will not accept fake or abbreviated surnames. However, if you want to, say, just have initials in front of your surname, that could be OK.
Second Names and Professional Accounts
Let us say your name is Jeffrey Miller, but your nightly DJ name is Dr. Spinz-a-lot. If you are forced to use Jeffrey Miller as your account profile name, how are your fans going to know who you are? You can get your DJ name out there in one of two ways.
Either you associate your DJ name with your personal account by adding a second name to the account (this can be a maiden name, professional name, etc) or you create a professional Facebook page for your DJ alter ego and leave your personal account personal. Adding a second name to your account is almost as easy as adding the first, and the naming rules are far more relaxed.
- Log in to your Facebook account and go to your profile page.
- Click About beneath your banner photo.
- Click Details About You on the left-hand side then ocate the section labeled Other Names. Click on the blue link that reads, Add a nickname, a birth name.
- Select the Name Type from the drop-down. Type your name and click Save Changes.
- Type the name. Check the box if you want the name to display next to your full name on your profile. then click Save Changes.
Now everyone will know that Jeffrey Miller and DJ Spinz-a-lot are one and the same.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I change the name on my Business account?
Yes, although similar guidelines apply here too. Visit your Business page and click on the Settings options to update the name displayed on your account.
Only administrators or page owners can change the name of a Facebook page and there are separate guidelines for these as well. For example, you can not use the word Official in your page’s name (there are verification badges for that) and you can not include your tag line (the About section is for that.
For a complete list of guidelines visit the Facebook help center.
Can you have a joint Facebook account?
Technically no, according to Facebook it goes against guidelines but people still do it. Whether you put your first names together and then your last name, or you put one as the first name and the other as the middle, it is possible to have two people on the same account.
Can I create a new Facebook page with a new name?
You can. But, this will delete all of your data, friends, pictures, and posts. Another reason this isn’t the best way to display the name you want is that Facebook now requires a phone number. If you try using the same phone number and email as your old account, Facebook will take you to an account reactivation page.