UPDATED: A Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said that in the past, it was hard sometimes to tell from the name and profile picture if offices represented Taiwan
/ Staff writer, with CNA
Several of the nation’s embassies and representative offices have updated their Facebook pages, adding “Taiwan” to their names and profile pictures to promote the nation.
The name change was advised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle changed the name of its Facebook page to “Taiwan in Seattle” and uploaded a new profile picture featuring an illustration of Taiwan proper with the word “Taiwan” on it.
Representative offices that have changed their Facebook names include those in San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Sao Paulo, Vancouver, Peru, Chile, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Indonesia and Naha, Japan.
The nation’s representative offices in Denver, Brussels, Geneva and Palau also changed their names and uploaded the same profile picture.
Those that have announced a name change, but have yet to do so include the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles and the Taipei Representative Office in the Netherlands.
Since opening a Facebook account in July last year, the ministry has encouraged embassies and representative offices to set up Facebook accounts, said Henry Chen （陳銘政）, head of the Department of International Information Services.
Of the more than 100 embassies and representative offices, 54 have a Facebook page, he added.
The pages previously adopted different nomenclatures and profile pictures, which in some cases made it difficult to tell whether the offices represented Taiwan, Chen said.
As a result, the ministry last month advised them to use the same name format and profile picture, he said, adding that the name “Taiwan” is more direct and clear than “Taipei office.”
The Department of International Information Services offered the advise, but did not require the offices to adopt them, he added.
Asked whether the name change was suggested with any political intentions in mind, especially after a referendum to rename the national sports team was rejected on Nov. 24, Chen said that was not the case.
The goal was simply to ensure that the offices have a consistent image and to allow visitors to immediately know that they represent Taiwan.
The ministry decided to promote the name change on Facebook first, because it is the main social media platform used by Taiwanese embassies and representative offices, he said, adding that only some of them are on Twitter.
The Facebook pages of the nation’s embassies and representative offices have more than 100,000 followers and are viewed more than 1 million times every month, Chen said.
The words “Taiwan in the EU and Belgium” and a logo featuring an outline of Taiwan are displayed yesterday on the Facebook timeline of the Taiwan Representative Office in the EU and Belgium. Image copied from the Facebook timeline of the Taiwan Representative Office in the EU and Belgium