Facebook apologizes for real name policy




My favorite name for Mr. Zuckerberg’s company is “Fæcesbook.”

Not original to me, but I love sharing it.


I still do not understand. What do you do if your name is Jim Smith? Just can’t use Facebook because somebody got there first? Or are you forced to be JimSmith94681573? Conversely, if you tell Facebook your name is Ignatius F.X. Higginbotham, do they run a background check to verify? What if your real name is Ben Dover?


Something like half my friends don’t use their real names, and many are using names that would probably be picked up as “fake” if someone were actively checking, rather than just responding to reports. So presumably some user has to decide they want to cause you grief, report your account as “fake”, and then facebook will give you grief for it.


From the linked article:

Cox noted that the issue around the site’s “real name” policy arose after a single user reported hundreds of accounts as fraudulent, reports ThinkProgress. At first, the company didn’t notice that the accounts being reported as fake overwhelmingly belonged to drag queens and other LGBT people, instead of belonging to users who were attempting to harass, impersonate, bully, or spam other users — which are legitimate grounds for an account’s suspension.
(Emphasis mine.)

So a single user reported hundreds of accounts as “fraudulent”, most of which belonged to LGBT people, and that didn’t raise any red flags. Facebook’s administrators instead went after the reported users and said, “This is policy. Deal with it.”

It does sound like there was an effort to harass and bully users, and Facebook could have saved themselves a lot of trouble and bad press if they’d gone after the one user who was responsible for it.


I wonder if that single user was Cathy Brennan?


Until I read your comment I had never heard of Cathy Brennan. She seems like a likely candidate, but, sadly, there are a lot of likely candidates out there.


Assuming a proof of name can be done by faxing in a drivers license or other paperwork, I wonder how they handle people sending in photoshopped/forged paperwork…?


It’s still ban/locking people for using false names. An acquaintance of mine just got hit with it.


They likely spend no more than a few seconds reviewing any given piece of ID, so any remotely passable photoshop job should do the trick for most people.


Too little too late so far as I’m concerned. It’s a bit frustrating too that trans women have been complaining about this for years but it’s the cross dressers who manage to make traction on it. :anger:

Yeah, unfortunately quite true. :rabbit:


In this case, that’s what happened. An anti LGBT person targeted these accounts specifically.


I remember someone who legally changed their name to a very gothic moniker, and couldn’t get FB to stop deleting their account despite legal paperwork. I wish I could remember the name, because it was spectacular.


and @ethicalcannibal

the first story I heard about the real-name policy is still the best (or worst, really, but you know what I’m saying.) a native american woman got her account deleted while in transit to meet her FB group in a different city. she arrived to find that she had no way to contact all the people she was visiting since FB was the only way they ever contacted each other. her account was deleted because her last name was assumed to be fake. her surname is real, and also the coolest ever: Kills-The-Enemy.


That is an amazing last name, and horrible story. Ever since back in the Livejournal days, I always kind of keep an ear open to abuse processes. FB seems to have a terrible process.


Would like to hear hear more discussion on theories of Facebook’s (and previously Google’s) motivations for having these rules on social networks in the first place.

Is it because they are actually under pressure, (or anticipate pressure) from their clients (advertisers), to maintain more accurate accounting of their product, (verified users eyeballs). Or is it that they are pushing a bigger picture agenda of shifting the public acceptance of less privacy and lowered differentiation between public/work/social and private spheres? I realize that both of those serve similar end($$$), am curious whether we have more concrete clues about their rationale.


Where are all the people saying “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you don’t need anonymity”, “it’s a free site, you should just do what they ask and be grateful” or “forcing people to use their real names will prevent trolling”? I remember them being the majority in these comments back when Google Plus first came out, but now that G+ has changed their policy and Facebook has apologized for theirs, they’ve gone mysteriously quiet.


Not eager to admit being proved wrong, perhaps?


“Hello! I am an insincere corporate agent and I am only sorry you feel that way and threatened by the possibility of you leaving us, I am not at all sorry for what we’ve done.”


Still posting crazy things, often under their real names. Still assholes.