Facebook tweaks real name policy

Posted on November 9, 2015


Rumpelstiltskin can breathe a sigh of relief when registering for a Facebook account – the social media giant is to amend its strict policy on using real names after pressure from support groups.

The ‘real name’ policy forces users of the network to register with the names that their friends and family know them by, in an effort to clamp down on online bullies.

Unfortunately, the measures have seen many users face suspension despite their names being authentic. Transgender people have been affected by the policy when they have picked a name to match the gender they identify with, and Native Americans and drag queens have also been victims of the measures.

In the face of protests from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Alex Schultz, speaking on behalf of Facebook, said that new measures would be introduced to improve how people verify their name on sign-up.

In future, when asked to confirm your name, you will be able to add more details to provide context to it. Additionally, when users want to report a name that they think is false, they will have to provide extra information to justify why they are doing so.

However, Facebook has made it clear that these are tweaks, rather than a scrapping of the policy. In its defence, Schultz said:

“We require people to use the name on Facebook that their friends and family know them by, and we’ll continue to do so.”

The changes will enter a test phase this December.

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