Update 4: Huzzah! My username is back! Or at least the URL works properly again. Internal Facebook links still use the profile id URL. I suspect it has to do with my account settings still showing that I have not selected a username. Still, it’s nice to have this finally resolved. Thanks to Paper Crane for releasing my username.
Update 3: The username “papercrane” was released by “Paper Crane” more than a day ago but is not available for me to choose. Hopefully Facebook will get this resolved soon.
My Facebook username and URL were stolen by a new company in Texas. While using Facebook for my job at Idle Games, a company that makes games for Facebook, I was forced to logout of Facebook and upon logging back in was shown a page saying that my username had been removed because it had no relevance to my profile. There was no direct messaging or e-mail, only this one ephemeral page. I’ve had the username “papercerane” on Facebook since the username feature was introduced 3+ years ago, have used it online for 10+ years, and my e-mail and profile picture on Facebook and other sites both feature papercrane prominently.
My profile is now only at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=658423354. I used to have the URL http://www.facebook.com/papercrane but now it redirects to http://www.facebook.com/PaperCrane, which is a Facebook profile for a stationery company in Texas. This account was created on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, which is now 3 days ago. According to their page, the business opened in August 2012, which makes my use of the name precede theirs by many years.
I posted on this company’s Facebook wall about the issue but they removed the post from their wall before responding with a comment to the effect that they had requested the username from Facebook and that Facebook had granted them the username because they were a company. Until today the conversation was still available at http://www.facebook.com/PaperCrane/posts/452337791472324?notif_t=feed_comment but now that page says “The page you requested was not found” which I take to mean that the post has been deleted entirely or hidden from public view. I subsequently then them a direct message but today when I checked I had not received a response and had been blocked from posting on their wall, commenting on their posts, and sending them messages.
This is an abuse of Facebook’s policies and means that anyone could have their username taken if a company claims the name as their own. You may ask yourself why this matters so much; It’s just a name, after all. Consider that a Facebook username is what creates an easy-to-remeber URL to your profile. This URL may have been used to link to your profile on any number of webpages, not only those controlled by you, but those controlled by any number of third parties. Now those links are, in essence, broken, as they no longer point to the same content that they were intended to point to. This leads to confusion and possible disassociation or even reduction of your credibility as a URL that was previously in your control is now in the control of another person. This is a de facto violation of the W3C’s standards regarding changing URIs. Originally that standard was meant to avoid “linkrot“, a situation that frequently occurs when a website changes the format of its URLs, moving content to new places and causing previously working URLs to now display an error. Changing the content that a URL links to leads to a more insidious version of the same issue. Now a person following the URL is misled into thinking that the content now served at that URL is the intended content when it is, in fact, unrelated. I am again, here, respectfully requesting that the business “Paper Crane” relinquish the Facebook username papercrane, which was in use by me long before their business was formed.
It looks like you’ve blocked my personal account from messaging you without even responding to me. Be an adult and let’s talk about this. Did you request that facebook take the username, papercrane, away from me?
Justin, as we have already disclosed to you when setting up our Facebook page we saw that the username was already taken. With that being the case all we did was send a request to Facebook asking if we could be granted the username which reflects our company and which is stated in the guidelines for Facebook. Facebook was the decision maker in giving us the username. With that being said if you have an issue with this you should be contacting Facebook, not harassing us. We in no way shape or form STOLE your username. Simply we put in a request for the name and Facebook was the one to make the change.
We are sorry for the inconvenience but this is our legal company name, and we ask that you please stop posting on our page. Again, if you have an issue with this please contact Facebook.
You can’t simply abdicate responsibility for this. You knew that the name was being used by me and, instead of contacting me and asking you just assumed it was ok to take the name away from me. That’s just not ok, regardless of Facebook’s terms and conditions. Unfortunately, I can find no formal way for me to appeal this decision to facebook. I have sent messages via the channels I could find but have not received a response.
Since you are now the “owner” (for lack of a better word) of this facebook username I’m asking you to be a good citizen and tell facebook you wish to give the name back to me. You could easily use a name like “Paper.Crane”, “PaperCranePlano”, “PaperCraneTexas”, or “PaperCraneAtWillowBend” instead of taking what I have been using for more than 3 years now on facebook.
Justin, we do not appreciate that you have publicly displayed this issue. This is a matter between you and our company which we are willing to work with you on. If you would like to receive your name back we ask that you please remove any and all comments or post about this. Your friends have crossed a line with the comments that have been posted on our page. Please let us know how you would like to proceed.
I tried to work with you when I first noticed that this had happened. Instead of taking responsibility you just deleted posts, disabled my ability to communicate with you, and claimed that you weren’t responsible for your own actions. This is when I started “publicly displaying this issue”.
Additionally, I have no control over the actions of other people or what content appears on Facebook under their names. I’m as surprised as you are by the size and speed of the response but it appears that it is this response which has brought you to the point where you are willing to start working with me.
Your credibility and reputation are in your own hands, not mine. So far people have assumed the worst because you haven’t given any indication to the contrary. Do the right thing and you’ll restore your own reputation.
This is a personal posting and does not reflect the views of my employer in any way. I merely mention Idle Games as I work for them and use Facebook every day in my work, making applications which make Facebook money.