Facebook Makes Minor Tweaks To “Real Name” Policy

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Makes Minor Tweaks To “Real Name” Policy.

Face the facts: You have to use your real name on Facebook. has long been criticized for its ‘real name’ policy, a policy in which users are required to use their ‘real’ names and, in cases of doubt, provide multiple forms of proof to confirm their authentic identity.

When it removes people from the service for not using their real name, Facebook requires confirmation of their names in order to reinstate the account. In a published letter obtained by BuzzFeed, Facebook’s vice president of growth, Alex Schultz, acknowledged that the current policy doesn’t work for everyone, and that many have complained to Facebook that the process of verifying their name is too difficult.

The social network has been widely criticized by many who have very legitimate, normal reasons to use a name that differs from what they’re officially called. This comes more than a year after chief product officer Chris Cox apologized to the LGBTQ community for “the hardship that [Facebook] put [them] through in dealing with [their] Facebook accounts.” Cox continued by saying, “We owe you a better service and a better experience using Facebook, and we’re going to fix the way this policy gets handled so everyone affected here can go back to using Facebook as you were.” Earlier this month, the Electronics Frontier Foundation (EFF), the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, and dozens of organizations in the U.S. and abroad sent an open letter to Facebook calling on it to fix its broken policy. “It’s time for Facebook to provide equal treatment and protection for all who use and depend on Facebook as a central platform for online expression and communication,” the letter said. Additionally, users could soon see a new version of Facebook’s profile reporting process that’ll ask for more information about why someone is requesting action be taken on an account. Why this matters: Despite the minor changes, Facebook reaffirmed that its “real names” policy is not going away any time soon—and that it actually protects people from being cyber bullied by fake or anonymous accounts. “When people use the name others know them by, they are more accountable for what they say, making it more difficult to hide behind an anonymous name to harass, bully, spam or scam someone else,” Schultz said. To make the process easier, users who have been flagged for name reasons will be able to submit some context related to their name, adding details if necessary.

In the next month, Facebook “will be gathering additional feedback from the community to make sure we are on the right track,” Schultz wrote, according to BuzzFeed. That hasn’t previously been available, and will “help [Facebook’s] Community Operations team better understand the situation,” as well as why a name can’t be verified and more. This will make it a little more time intensive for someone to make a report, and will hopefully result in pranksters and bullies deciding it’s not worth their time.

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