Facebook says almost 6 million usernames are taken in two days
Last weekend, Facebook members were given the opportunity to claim nicknames or vanity names for use on the website for the first time. "We didn't quite know what to expect," Larry Yu, Facebook spokesman, said in a telephone interview today with DailyFinance. The site handled the increase in traffic well, he said, as users raced to claim their name.
Through the end of the day June 14, about 5.75 million user names, or about three million a day for two days, have been taken by existing Facebook members. A word of warning from Yu though: Facebook can take back any name at any time for any reason.
"We made that clear in the rules," which were released on Facebook last week, Yu said in the interview. This will most likely be enforced with celebrity and company names.
The nicknames or user names Facebook is allowing its users to add to their existing Facebook accounts are similar to nicknames users may already use on other social networking Web sites, such as Twitter.
Palo Alto, California-based Facebook made it clear it wants its users to claim a name that's close to their true identity. For example anthony or anthony.massucci or massucci would be best for my name.
So what about names like hotdude, or sexygirl, or nicknames that aren't specific to someone's actual name? "We're not going to be aggressive in policing this," Yu said during the phone interview. The company is planning to "take a closer look," he said, at any user names that are viewed as lewd or offensive.
Also, If someone tries to use the same name as a popular celebrity or company, and it doesn't happen to also be their name, it would likely be taken back by Facebook.
For example, New York Yankees pitcher Phil Coke, could claim www.facebook.com/coke if it were available. It's not, as Coca-Cola (KO) has it. Facebook allowed companies like Coca-Cola, and friends and family, to reserve their moniker before opening the doors at 12:01 a.m. New York time on June 13. For example, www.facebook.com/anthony was gone at that point.
Once you have claimed your username, it's not possible to edit it, or to transfer your username to a different account on Facebook, according to the Web site. If and when an account is removed from the site, its username will not be made available, which is for security reasons, Facebook said.
If you're a Facebook user, your chosen nickname could soon be gone too, if it isn't already. Millions are being sealed by the day. Although with more than 200 million active users, you may still have time.
Anthony Massucci is a senior writer for DailyFinance. You may follow him on Twitter at hianthony.