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Facebook Testing New Name Pronunciation Advice

Rafe Needleman
Editorial Director, Yahoo Tech
Yahoo Tech

Facebook is experimenting with a new feature that lets you tell the world how to pronounce your name.

(Image: Yahoo Tech)

In a small number of profiles so far, Facebook is showing how the user’s name is pronounced. It will also play an audio clip of the name. We’ve only seen one profile so far with this feature: MIT Technology Review publisher and editor in chief Jason Pontin’s.

When asked, Facebook had this to say about the profile addition: “We’ve begun a small test of a feature that lets you indicate how your name is pronounced. The pronunciation will be displayed on your Profile along with an option for people to click to hear an audio playback. For now, we’re focusing this test on English speakers in the U.S.”

If you want to check whether you’ve got the new feature, Facebook says to go to Facebook on your computer’s Web browser, visit your Profile, and select the About tab. From there, you can click “Details About You” and then “How do you say your name?” Here, you can preview and select from Facebook’s guesses about the pronunciation, or write your own.

Pontin says that while editing his profile, he saw “three options, all wrong.” Then, he said, “They offered the opportunity to suggest something better. Then, ignored it.” (Since this story originally ran, Facebook has reached out to me to say they have improved the suggestion process.)

And that’s why features like this are tested in small batches before they are rolled out to the world. 

Facebook provided these images of the feature for a name that — at least for me — might need more pronunciation guidance than Mr. Pontin’s:

Well, that helps. (Image: Facebook)


Giving Facebook guidance. (Image: Facebook)