Facebook requiring cities to change page names

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Lizz Gunnufsen 8 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #166942

    Erin Vader

    Facebook has recently begun sending out email messages to government Facebook page owners (namely cities/local governments) requiring them to change page names because they are too close to Facebook’s “geographic location name”. (Ex: City of Olathe, KS – our official, legally recognized name is too close to the geographic location page of Olathe, KS). Facebook has given two weeks for governments to change page names.

    As others can relate, this poses a logistical nightmare for us. First and foremost, “City of Olathe, KS” is our brand. It is on all of our official correspondence. The Facebook URL is used on most if not all of our citizen communications and we rely on Facebook as a critical citizen interface.

    Has anyone else received this communication from Facebook? If so, what are you doing to comply without compromising your current following and your brand. Has anyone had luck contacting Facebook to grant an exception? Extension? More information?

    We can’t be alone on this issue! Any insight and advice is appreciated.

  • #166962

    Lizz Gunnufsen
  • #166960


    A number of webmasters in the National Association for Government Webmasters (NAGW) have reported receiving this message. For those that have changed the page name, it appears that the URL remains the same.

  • #166958

    Chris Cairns

    I don’t fully understand why the “closeness” to “geographic location name” is an issue to begin with. Someone, please, enlighten me.

  • #166956

    Erin Vader

    Thanks, Steve. That is one of our major concerns – having to change the URL.

  • #166954

    David Dejewski

    I suppose you’ll have to change your first name soon. It’s too similar to a 2000 biographical film directed by Steven Soderbergh.
    My first name is probably too similar to the name of a character who slew Goliath in the first testament of the bible.

  • #166952

    David Dejewski

    Good discussion there. 🙂

  • #166950

    Ines Mergel

    Hi Erin, I wrote about this on my blog a few weeks ago with suggestions from other social media directors who ran into the same problem. They suggested a few solutions:




    Hope this helps!


  • #166948

    Robert Bacal

    Erin, I can’t help you with how to dig out from this.It might be good to consider that you are completely at the mercy of Facebook on this issue, and most other issues, in effect ceding control of your communication functions to a third party that has no legal/contractual obligations to your city or its citizens.

    As to why Facebook has this rule? I’ve been pondering why over the last day or two, and can only speculate. It may be that Facebook uses geographic location name for functions that affect its income. For example, (I have advertised on Facebook), geographic ad targeting is something they would like to protect). Or, it might be that their search system gets messed up with certain kinds of page names.

    It concerns me a bit that Facebook hasn’t seen fit to explain WHY it has this policy, which causes the cynical side of me to think it is something about their revenue streams that they’d rather not share.

  • #166946

    David Dejewski

    I suspect this is a a symptom of a disease that large bureaucracies suffer from: First, it does things that seem to make little sense – then provides minimal explanations. People seeking to engage can’t get anyone on the phone. I’d bet these conditions trigger the cynical side in many people.

    I’ve shared my thoughts on this in more detail in a Blog and a discussion:

    What’sa Matter? You Too Big to Answer the Phone?

    Yeah whatever. Call me. I don’t have a phone.

    Thanks to Erin for posting this discussion! It is a worthy discussion to have and it was inspirational to me this morning.

  • #166944

    Nicolette Brennan

    Has 3CMA or PRSA reached out to FB? The “City of” construction in most of our names clearly differentiates a municipal organization from the broad reference to a city or area. So very unfortunate.

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