Facebook Requiring Cities to Change Identification on Site

September 3, 2012

By Gregory Minchak

Recently, some cities received notices from Facebook requiring that they change how they identify themselves on the social networking service. Facebook user rules require that page names cannot be generic in nature and under the terms of agreement, some cities' names fall under this designation.

Facebook is concerned about potential confusion by their users regarding who controls a particular page. For example, "City of XYZ" has a Facebook page. Is this the city, the mayor's office or the tourism office? Cities that have a unified voice seem to be most at risk of receiving the notices as they may have a more generic name that encompasses the whole of the city. In the case of the example, Facebook has been requesting that "City of XYZ" change their name to "City of XYZ Government" to avoid confusion. There is some flexibility in what a city can name itself. Some have chosen City Government Of, others City, State Government or some City of _______ Government.

Facebook has stated that if a city has a vanity URL, it does not have to change the page URL, just the name. Additionally, no city will lose fans or content as they make the switch.

Facebook has been communicating with cities via email exchanges and some cities have missed the notices. The notices contain a countdown for the city to change the name or risk losing access to the page, most notably in the case of Munich, Germany. At which point, the administrator of the page will need to discuss with Facebook getting the page turned back on.

Facebook has stated they will continue to push for these changes. To help create awareness of this issue, NLC and Facebook will be offering a webinar on September 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm EDT, to explain the needed change and how the transition process will work.

Details: For more information and to register for the webinar please visit Facebook/NLC Webinar.