Facebook Username Registration Opens Tonight

Facebook username registration opens for the firs time in just a few hours, marking a major milestone in Facebook identity. For the first time since Facebook began over 5 years ago, users will be able to choose a username to go by on the site. And while it may not be clear today how broadly Facebook usernames will be used in the future, everyone should be careful to pick a username that they will want to be associated with their real Facebook identity for years to come.

Here’s how the username allocation process will work:

  • Starting at 12:01am EDT tonight (4:01am GMT on 13 June), Facebook users can choose a username on this page. The names will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Once a name is chosen, Facebook says it can never be changed or transferred – it will be your Facebook username and URL forever. So you should choose a name that you’ll be comfortable associating with yourself for the rest of your life.
  • Usernames must be at least 5 characters long, and will only be available in Roman characters at launch.
  • Facebook has restricted a lot of generic and trademarked usernames – so you won’t be able to pick “InNOut,” “GeorgeBush,” or “Mesothelioma.”
  • If you created your account after June 9, 2009, at 3pm PT, you’ll have to wait until June 28 to get your username.

In addition, Facebook has set up several rules for businesses interested in getting vanity URLs for their Facebook Pages. Only those Pages with more than 1,000 fans on May 31 will be eligible for usernames starting tonight. The rest will also have to wait until June 28.

Facebook chose to start the username landrush at midnight on a Friday night in the US to ease the transition on its internal systems and processes. Europeans probably have the toughest time though – they’ll be getting up at (or staying up until) 4-5am to get their Facebook username.

Good luck getting the name you want!