FACEBOOK, A tale of two cities named Kailua

Information willingly shared on sites such as Facebook can be used to predict a lot about people's preferences on a wide variety of topics, according to a recent study
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HONOLULU – Locals would never confuse Oahu’s Kailua Town with the Big Island’s Kailua-Kona. Geographically and otherwise, the two are distinct as Kailua Town’s Fourth of July Parade and Kailua-Kona’s Ironman World Championship race. Both have made a name for themselves beyond our shores with Hawaii’s visitors and support bustling small business communities relying on their unique online presence. Unfortunately, because of the similarity of their names, visitors looking for either destination sometimes confuse one for the other. Up until now, Facebook’s description of both has only added to the confusion, as news stories highlighted recently.

That could add up to a lot of confused people. In 2013, the popular social media network had over 2.3 billion monthly and more than 15 million business, company and organization users.


That’s why state Representatives Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimanalo) and Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau) co-authored House Resolution 165 that urges Facebook to more clearly distinguish the two towns on the social networking site to protect the local businesses in each town. The resolution was recently passed by the House Committee on Veterans, Military, and Culture & the Arts and goes to the full House for adoption.

However, within hours of the hearing, Facebook’s entries for both neighborhoods were changed to better describe both locales.

“After we called attention to the confusion, Facebook must have realized there were some real issues caused by the inaccurate information and made changes,” Representative Lee said. “Even as we are focused on fixing our major issues, sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference to some businesses. A big mahalo to Facebook for their quick action to fix this.”

“In addition to the very real consequences of inaccurate information affecting business and travel decisions, we all take great pride in our distinct identities as communities.” added Representative Lowen.  “Kailua, Hawaii County on Facebook used to be linked to a map for Kailua, Oahu, but, as of today, I’m pleased to see it’s been corrected.”

Submitted by the state House.