Facebook Backs Down On Real Name Policy
Facebook has backed down on its controversial policy of forcing users to use their real names.
Users will be able to use a name of their choosing, but they will only be able to update their name every 60 days. Facebook says it never wanted to force everyone to use their real name, but it did want everyone to use the name that they “use in real life”. However, its own policies do state that each user should use the name on their ID, so this is disputed.
The company has backtracked after complaints from transgender people who were subject to a malicious attack, where one user reported hundreds of accounts as being fake.
Facebook responded by asking the people concerned to prove that their name was real, which ended up being a huge issue due to the size of the group that was targeted. Some of the people involved went to the press.
Facebook says that it will improve its customer service if the issue happens again. Transgender people say that they were discriminated against. The Facebook policy even drew negative comments from the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco, who also set up a meeting to try to resolve the problem.
As a result of the issue, Facebook now says people can use any name. If their account is reported as fake, they will be able to use alternative methods of verification; it mentions fan pages as one possible proof of name.
When Facebook originally launched, users had to use a real email address associated with an educational establishment, and it had more of a yearbook focus. As it has grown, this has been lost. Time will tell whether Facebook will relax its rules to match those of its new rival, Ello. However, some users that are caught up in this controversy have said that Ello’s relaxed attitude may have caused Facebook’s climb down on “fake” names.