No, You Cannot Be BMW (Or Any Other Big Corporation) on Facebook

Facesquatters beware: Facebook is coming for you. The social network rolled out short usernames less than two months ago, now it's starting to revoke the ones it doesn't like.

Facebook's policies on usernames state that "Facebook username should have a clear connection to one's identity." But it's not been entirely clear how that would be enforced. Now we have an example; one user wrote in to tell us Facebook has revoked his "BMWUSA" username, which he claims he picked because he loves the German automaker's luxury cars.

"Now,] I am forced to pick a username that is left over after millions have already picked their names."

Well, sure, but our sympathy is limited: BMWUSA sounds an awful lot like a username intended for sale; we wonder if our tipster didn't hold out hope for a payday when the care company decided it wanted to get ahold of "facebook.com/bmwusa". When Facebook opened the doors to new usernames, it prompted a land-grab not unlike the early rush for dot-com domains. BMWUSA marks an early showdown in this new namespace between corporations and purported domain squatters.

Even if the username was selected in earnest, Facebook's response was predictable. Facebook is not an open system, like the internet; it's a privately held, often censorious social network.

Other apparent Facesquatters, beware: In its notice below, shown to our tipster, Facebook writes, "If you see other people with usernames hat do not accurately represent their real names, it is only because they have not yet been removed for misuse." We've called and emailed the Facebook press team to ask if a crackdown is imminent and are waiting to hear back.

No, You Cannot Be BMW (Or Any Other Big Corporation) on Facebook


(Top pic by wolfwhite99 on Flickr)