Change Your Name on Facebook (2020)
Don't want your co-workers to find out about your middle school nickname that you used to sign up for your Facebook account? This tutorial is for you.
Facebook makes it slightly difficult to change the name associated with your account. Why?
Simply put, they want you to use your real name. They don't want you changing from "Bob" to "Bobby" to "Bobert" every other day. They also don't want you to be listed as "Da CoOlEsT cAt In Da HoUsE" or something like that. To enforce this, after a single name change, you won't be able to change your name on Facebook again for 60 days.
It seems odd that they restrict users in this way, because what if you really do switch between nicknames frequently? Or what if you regret a name change a few days after making it? Facebook is not the most accommodating here. Though you can change back to your previous name within 48 hours of a name change, you still won't be able to change your name again for 60 days after that. You also can't revert after the 48 hour period has passed. Essentially, even if you just want to change the capitalization of a single letter, you'll have to abide by their 60-day rule.
According to Facebook's own words, using your real name "helps keep you and the rest of our community safe from impersonation, scams and phishing." It is undoubtedly more appealing to advertisers as well to be able to access your real data.
However, the process of changing your name is easy if you haven't changed your name already within the last 60 days.
We'll walk you through a simple tutorial on how to take advantage of this feature as of August 2020. This tutorial is specifically for Desktop users with the classic Facebook interface, though the process is fairly similar for users of the new Facebook interface as well.
Should You Go Through With Your Name Change?
If you clicked this article, you have probably already decided that you want to change your Facebook name. We've already discussed the lack of flexibility in the 60-day name change rule, but did you know that Facebook is also very restrictive in their name policy in general? In fact, there's an entire Wikipedia article about controversies that have come up around the world due to their restrictive name policy.
With all these rules and regulations to consider, we'll quickly summarize some bullet points to help you decide whether you should go through with your intended name change.
Some reasons for changing your name that are "uncontroversial" are:
- You made a typo in your name when you signed up
- You've definitively changed the name you go by in real life (whether officially or socially)
The following are some less solid reasons in Facebook's eyes:
- You want your name to be in a different style (ex: changing the language, adding some symbols, etc.). This might just be a fleeting desire and then you could end up stuck with your changes, whether you like them or not. Furthermore, Facebook may prevent you from going through with this if it's against their name policy.
- You want to add a title in front of your name (ex: changing XYZ to Dr. XYZ). If everyone knows you as Dr. XYZ in your personal life, then it would make sense that your Facebook name be Dr. XYZ. However, Facebook does not permit titles of any kind in your name.
- "Farfetched" nicknames that don't sound like real names (at least according to Facebook). So if you go by something like "The Rock", your name change may not be so Facebook-friendly. This applies to stage names as well. Their review process can be so restrictive that users around the world with names that are less popular in Facebook's home country of the USA have had their real names rejected, ironically being forced to use fake names!
If you are adamant about a name change that falls under one of the less acceptable categories listed above, we recommend you give it a shot because it may just work out anyway. It's just important to know that Facebook may not let you go through with your changes.
The Steps to Changing Your Name
1) Start by heading over to https://www.facebook.com/. You will need to log into your account if you are not logged in already.
2) Once you're on your Facebook, click the small upside-down triangle at the rightmost top corner of the page. This will open up a dropdown menu. From here, select 'Settings'.
3) You'll see some fields that you can edit on that page including Name, Username, Contact, and Manage account. Select 'Edit' next to 'Name' as pictured below.
4) Facebook will allow you to edit/change your First Name, Middle Name (Optional), and Last Name. Go ahead and make any desired changes to those fields here.
There is a warning here about changing your name stating that if you change your name now, you won't be able to change it again until 60 days have passed. However:
- You will be able to revert to your old name within 48 hours of making a name change. This can be useful for mistakes or if you're still feeling a bit indecisive.
- You can change the order of your first name and last name at any time. For example, if your name is John Smith, you can change your name to Smith John without waiting out the 60 day period.
The warning also brings up some tips to ensure that your name change complies with Facebook's name policy (we made some mention of this name policy at the beginning of this article if you're interested in learning more).
Once you're done, select the blue 'Review Change' button.
5) A prompt will come up allowing you to preview your name change. Here, you can select the order that you want your first name and last name to appear in (Facebook lets you have your last name displayed before your first).
Once you are ready to go through with your name change, type in your password and select the blue 'Save Changes' button.
If successful, your new name should immediately be visible on your profile.
How Do You Change Your Name Again Before 60 Days Have Passed?
Two months can be a long time in the internet world. If you find that you are unhappy with your new Facebook name before the 60 day period after your name change has passed, there is not too much you can do.
After researching a bit, we did see that some people managed to change their names by directly contacting Facebook by filling out a form. This form requires that you attach a picture of your ID proving that your next desired name change is legitimate. However, some users attached an image other than their ID and it seems that Facebook approved their requests regardless.
We don't recommend doing this, simply because it's risky; for example, other users who tried this trick claimed to get locked out of their account. It relies on Facebook being lenient, slipping up, or something else along those lines which just can't be guarantee.
The best you can do here is to:
- Make sure you revert back to your old name within 48 hours of making your name change. Don't forget you have this option when you change your name and don't let that 48-hour window pass without being absolutely sure you're happy with your decision.
- Try making a new Facebook account if you're really desperate. This can be a lot of work (re-adding friends, re-uploading pictures, etc.), but it does remain an option.
There's a chance Facebook may ease up on this policy in the future, but as of August 2020, we are stuck complying with these measures.
How Did We Feel About This Facebook Feature?
We feel that Facebook is overly conservative when it comes to name changes. After all, it is a social media platform used for entertainment and not real life.
While the process of making a name change is easy enough, the associated policies can be a headache to navigate.