Facebook making changes to its ‘real-name policy’ after criticism


Facebook is making some modifications to its real-name changes policy, which has faced criticism in the US from LGBT activists.

Facebook is making some modifications to its real-name changes policy, which has faced criticism in the US from LGBT activists in particular.

According to Engadget, Facebook has confirmed changes to the terms and conditions of its real-name policy which insists that people use real names on the site, rather than pseudonyms. The report notes that the policy has often misused by trolls to harass transgender people and Native Americans.

The response comes after the Electronic Frontier Foundation had written an open letter to Facebook, demanding that the company make changes to its ‘real-name’ policy. Facebook’s VP of Alex Schultz wrote a letter addressing some of these demands.

Schultz in his letter clarified that Facebook has never required people to use their legal names, but rather names that their friends and family commonly use for them. However Facebook, says they want to be sensitive across cultures, identities and “will let people provide more information about their circumstances,” in some cases.

His letter reads, “This should help our Community Operations team better understand the situation. It will also help us better understand the reasons why people can’t currently confirm their name, informing potential changes we make in the future.” So now people can provide more context around a particular name when they are confirming an account on Facebook.

Facebook is also changing the process for profile reporting and will now require a complainant to give
additional information about why they are reporting a profile.

Also for people who’ve been locked out of their accounts over a ‘real-name’ verification issue, Facebook says that it no longer need government IDs to verify the same. According to Schultz, “People can confirm their name with many forms of non-legal identification,” like bills, library card, mail, bank statement, etc.

Also people who submit IDs to Facebook for verification, these will be encrypted when they stored on the social networks’ servers. In a bid to reassure users of their data privacy, Facebook says that “the ability of our team to decrypt these IDs will expire after 30 days” and that “the encrypted IDs will then be deleted shortly after that.”

Finally Facebook says they will offer a more transparent and context drive appeal system for those who are locked out of their accounts.

Letter from Facebook’s Alex Schultz by Alex Kantrowitz

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