How Facebook Made My Name a Dirty Word

In the programming world, my name could be called a unique identifier. As much as I don’t like my full name, Georgiana, I am pleased that my nickname, Georgy, is relatively unique and iconic. (But if you spell it with -ie, you’re gonna be in for it.) About the only other folks who have my name are Russian, so stateside, I’m set.

Of course, I’ve gotten ribbed about my name over the years. There is, of course, the nursery school standard, “Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie, kissed the girls and made them cry.” What does that even mean anyways? Well, since I’ve never kissed any girls, and no one I’ve kissed has ever cried, who can say? (I do, however, like both pudding and pie.) And let’s not forget that horrible song by the Seekers, “Georgy Girl,” which my husband still hums under his breath when he feels like getting under my skin. (At least they spelled it right.)

But, man, I thought that was bad? When sexual awareness hit at age nine or ten, and people realized that the last four letters of my nickname spelled — and thus, my name rhymed with — the word orgy, they were beside themselves. Hardy har har. Comic gold! Yeah… that got old quick.

When Facebook announced vanity URLs, I figured some crafty Russian would probably seize, and I quickly came to peace with that. I figured I would still be able to snag some permutation of my nickname and my last name, even though exhaustion wouldn’t let me stay up until midnight last night for the big land grab.

When I woke up this morning and tried to grab my vanity URL, however, I was thwarted at every turn. georgy, georgy.cohen, georgyc, even my online handle radiofreegeorgy — all unavailable.


But when I went to those URLs, they did not redirect to profiles — I simply got the Facebook 404 page. I briefly puzzled over this until I remembered the accursed last four letters of my nickname — O-R-G-Y. I checked the Facebook username FAQ to search for an explanation or some recourse:

My username was not available.

You may not be able to claim a username for several reasons. Usernames can only contain alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9) or a period (“.”), for example — john.smith55. Usernames also must be at least 5 characters long. Usernames are not case sensitive. Facebook also prevents certain words from being included in usernames. It is not possible to copy a username that someone else has already claimed.

If Facebook has indicated that your username cannot be claimed, you will need to select a different one. You will see a green checkmark indicating that a potential username is available before you actually claim it.

Emphasis mine, of course. That’s it. It’s the only explanation. Facebook is denying me my own unique identifier because of the last four letters of my nickname. Because so many years ago, I picked -y over -ie. But what about someone like, say, Dick Cheney? What if he wants a vanity URL for his Facebook profile? Well, appears to be taken, but…



So, while I don’t know for sure that I am being denied my top choices because of my last four letters, it’s the only conclusion I can reach. Additional suggestions welcome. In the meantime, I am going to drown my social media sorrows in some pudding and pie.


7 responses to “How Facebook Made My Name a Dirty Word

  1. As a programmer, I can understand FB’s decision. It’s like those damn curly quotes — coding for a banned word list is incredibly tedious. However, I’d think FB would have the money for sophisticated coders who can distinguish georgy from, let’s say, allgirlorgy or whatever. Alas, I guess they took the easy way out. Now you know why Mike and I sometimes say, “It’s just easier if we do X.” 🙂

  2. How about using a zero for your “o”?

  3. little los angeles

    you should get this username instead, hahaha:

  4. Facebook simply excludes one of the characters in my legal name from their allowed set. So I made my usual protest choice (thanks for leaving it for me :-)) of “illegalname”.

  5. Ruth McCracken

    I tried to use my actual name (well, my husband’s) to set up a username for an online utility account. It should have been DEMcCracken. That, and any permutation that actually used our surname was disallowed. I did protest by email, but got the usual stonewall about allowable language.

    I chose “stoopidfilter” instead. THAT was allowable.

  6. That really sucks. For me, I didn’t want my full name in the URL and therefore setting Facebook to be the first pick on search results for my name. Instead, I did first initial and last name, which may not be any better, but oh well.

  7. Sucks! I also had that whole notion of staying up late to snatch “mikey”, but figured that’d be gone in a second and I’d settle for “bluey”. Then I promptly forgot about the whole ordeal and now I’m relegated to “mikeycooper”.

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