How to get Facebook to accept your pen name

Some years ago, I decided that being a part-time erotica writer had the potential to hurt my customer relations in my day job. And so, I adopted the pen name Frank Noir.

I used this name for my books, this blog, my Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram accounts – and created a personal Facebook profile to connect with my readers and other authors.

Recently, however, I got locked out of my Facebook account. They suspected that my account was fake. And the thing is: Well, in fact is was – after all, it didn’t reflect a real person, but my pen name – my fictional alter ego. So I was rather unsure what to do.

A swift internet search brought up a very useful article by Shoshanna Evers, which made two encouraging points:

  1. Facebook does in fact allow pen names, and
  2. Shoshanna had been locked out herself, and explained in detail how she got her account back

I used some of her advice, adapted it to my situation, and within a couple of tries I got access to my Frank Noir profile again. Here’s what I did:

I created one large Photoshop document, large enough to hold all the documentation I needed. Here’s what I included

  1. A photo of my passport – showing my photo, my name, my date of birth (but with passport number blanked out)
  2. A screendump of my account page from smashwords.com – showing my real life email and my pen name (both highlighted)
  3. A list of payments from my smashwords.com page – with the most recent payment highlighted
  4. A printout from my PayPal account, showing the payment highlighted aboved (with the payment number highlighted)
  5. A listing of my books on my Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing page (to show that these were written by Frank Noir
  6. A list of payments from my Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing page – with one item highlighted
  7. A screendump from my online bank, showing the payment above – with my real life name and the payment number from the above payment highlighted.

After considering the evidence, Facebook asked for just one thing more: A photo of me holding my passport. When I’d submitted that, my account was reopened within hours.

Feel free to appropriate the above guide for yourself and let me know if you have comments. For instance, I can’t tell which one of my ebook publishing accounts (Smashwords or Amazon) helped convince Facebook support. Or perhaps having both was what did the trick.

And if you – God forbid – should ever run into the same problem, feel free to contact me. I’ll do my best to help you get your account back.

One thought on “How to get Facebook to accept your pen name”

  1. I have a pen name based on my author pseudonym, which is, in turn, a fake profile. I want to keep my writing and real life strictly separated, which is not an easy feat on Facebook. Google plus is a bit easier to fool, and Twitter and Tumblr don’t seem to care who you are or what you do and why you do it.
    I’ve had several profiles first jailed, then blocked and even deleted, but I find it less a hassle to just create a new profile and start over, than to let Facebook know who I really am and connect my different personas, although I suspect they already know, since I am using one computer for everything. I am not under the delusion that you can keep any secrets from facebook, but as long as you don’t trigger their bots, they leave you alone. My current profile has enjoyed some longevity, but who knows when it’ll be time to move into a new incarnation.
    I have a page, but that doesn’t allow for the same level of interaction with other authors and audience as a personal profile. Perhaps Facebook should indeed consider a real author profile, that allows you to roam Facebook as a real person, but with your real identity safely hidden behind privacy settings and passwords.

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