The Facebook vanity URL landrush is on. Starting this Saturday morning, June 13, at 12:01am EDT, Facebook users will be asked to choose a username for their Facebook profile that will replace the current numeric URLs for profile pages.
According to Facebook, users will be able to choose a username on a “first-come, first-serve” basis for their profile and the Facebook Pages that they administer by visiting this page after midnight on Friday night. Users will also see a notice on their home page asking them to choose a username/URL:
When the landrush starts, users will be able to choose just one username for their profile and for each of the Pages that they administer (they will not be available for groups or events). Usernames must be at least five characters long and can only contain letters, numbers, or periods. They will only be available in Roman characters at launch.
However, users should be careful to choose the right one: once you have made a choice, you won’t be allowed to change it or transfer it to someone else later on. Facebook isn’t allowing transfers in order to undercut the rampant squatter market that would otherwise develop – although there will still definitely be cases of abuse. Facebook says that generic words like “flowers” or “pizza” will not be available as usernames, though we’re not sure how exactly those rules will work.
Facebook says that if you signed up for a Facebook Page after May 31 or a user profile after today at 3 p.m. EDT, you “may not be able to sign up for a username immediately because of steps we’ve taken to prevent abuse or ‘squatting’ on names.”
For developers, usernames will not be accessible through the Platform API at this time, so developers will not be able to access or store usernames. Rather, they’ll have to stick to user IDs.