Facebook will test improvements to its ‘real name’ policy in December

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Is Sort of Tweaking Its Real Name Policy, Admits It “Does Not Work for Everyone”.

Face the facts: You have to use your real name on Facebook. It’s true that most people use their real names on , but every now and then you’ll have someone who wants to use the social network, but doesn’t want to use their real name for a variety of reasons. The criticism comes from all sorts of interests, but some of the main opposition has been from the LGBT community, domestic abuse victims, and even Native Americans. “We know the current process does not work for everyone.

The change would let users explain their name choices to Facebook Community Operations team and would also require more explanation from users who flag and report others for not using a real name, which makes it harder for the process to be used as a tactic to silence or harass. 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.

Second, we want to make it easier for people to confirm their name if necessary,” says Facebook’s Alex Schultz in a letter obtained by BuzzFeed. “Historically,when people were prompted to confirm their Facebook profile name, there was no opportunity to give additional details or context on their unique situation. 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.

Currently, in order to “confirm” your name if it’s been reported as fake, Facebook requires you to provide a checklist of documents—including forms of ID, bank statement, IRS receipts, etc.—making it nearly impossible for many to regain access to their suspended profiles. 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.

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. There are plenty of cases — for example, a woman leaving an abusive relationship and trying to avoid her violent ex-husband — where preventing the ex-husband from creating profiles with fake names and harassing her is important.

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