August 9, 2016

How to Change the Name of Your Facebook Page

  • Subline: (Even when the automatic name filter tells you no)
Changing the name of your Facebook page can be tricky if you're using unconventional capitalization or punctuation. Changing the name of your Facebook page can be tricky if you're using unconventional capitalization or punctuation.

We recently went through a bit of a branding tweak here at tdg. We’ve spent that last two decades as TDG Communications, but this year, we decided to streamline. Now we’re tdg: it’s easier to say on the phone, it makes for a shorter domain name, and there are fewer people coming through the door looking for help with their mobile phone plans.

Updating our social media was straightforward. Almost every social platform lets business users update names, logos, and contact info with a few clicks. But Facebook is a little extra picky. In a quest for proper grammar, Facebook has an aggressive page name filter to weed out anything controversial. One of my favorite encounters with the filter: About 10 years ago, we had a few local clients trying to create their first pages, and Facebook wouldn’t let them. After some research, we determined that the word “Deadwood” was being blocked because the HBO series was in active production, and it was flagged as a copyrighted term. Apparently, it didn’t occur to anyone in Menlo Park that Deadwood was a real place.

Aside from potentially litigious names, Facebook also doesn’t like strange capitalization. So when we tried to change our page name from “TDG Communications” to “tdg - marketing & public relations,” the filter put up red flags. No all lower-case (or all upper-case) letters allowed. It wouldn’t allow the change unless we capitalized the first letter, which would have completely undermined our brand update. So when Facebook refuses your page name change, what do you do? Here’s the process we used.

Firstly, make sure Facebook is telling you no. Navigate to your page, then find the “More” drop-down box just under the header image. Click on “Edit Page Info.”

How to edit your basic Facebook page information

A pop-up box will appear, and the option to change your page name will be right at the top. Type in the new name, then hit “Save Changes.” If Facebook doesn’t like your new choice, it’ll let you know with a box that looks like this:

If Facebook doesn't like your name change, it'll tell you.

Not super helpful. Now what? Time to contact a human being at Facebook Support. That’s not an easy task, but there are some sneaky ways to get the job done. Here’s how we did it. Cancel out of the change windows, and then look for the down arrow at the far right of the blue header at the top of your screen. When you mouse over it, you’ll get a drop-down menu. At the very bottom is an option called “Report a Problem.” Click it. 

This is how you talk to a real person. Find "Report a Problem" in the Settings menu.

Click the "Something Isn't Working" link, and then you’ll get a pop-up box where you can type your message. Don’t forget to select “Pages” from the drop-down at the top. You also have the option to include a screenshot, if you want. Once you’re finished, hit “Send.”

Then report your problem. Don't be lengthy, but be accurate! Feel free to steal our wording.

Now for the hard part: waiting. In my experience, it takes about seven to 10 business days for an actual human being to send a reply. The good news is that once you finally get someone assigned to your ticket, they tend to reply to you quickly - within a couple of business hours, typically. You’ll see the messages appear in your Support Inbox, which is just above “Report a Problem” in the Settings menu. (You’ll also get e-mail notifications when you get replies, so don’t worry about keeping too close an eye on this.)

Here's how to get to the support inbox, if you need to get there manually.

The first replies are from their canned support script and aren’t very helpful, so it may take a couple of messages before you make any progress. Even then, it may not go very smoothly. The first person I chatted with wasn’t very helpful, and when I pressed her, she asked to see legal trademark documentation before she’d escalate it. Talk about jumping through hoops.

Fortunately, you don’t have to settle for the first person assigned to your ticket. I got impatient while waiting for someone to reply to my first message, so I ended up submitting a second support ticket through the “Report a Problem” link. I was a little surprised when a second support rep replied to my duplicate ticket, but it worked out perfectly. The second conversation was much more productive, and she was able to manually change the page name on our behalf - without any supporting documentation - within about a day.

The whole process ended up taking a few weeks, but that was mostly time spent waiting for an initial reply from the support team. It takes patience and persistence, but it is possible to bypass Facebook’s automatic page name controls.