Facebook mends real-name rules, apologizes to LGBT community

At first glance, Facebook's real-name policy doesn't seem so bad. Unfortunately, that policy edged out some in the LGBT community who weren't comfortable using their real name on the social entity. To stave off those members leaving — and because it's the right thing to do — Facebook is reversing course a bit on their policy to support those who may not feel comfortable using their real name.

The backlash from the real-name policy was fierce. Members of the LGBT community, some of whom were drag queens or kings, were unceremoniously removed from Facebook for using a pseudonym or stage name rather than their real name.

Explaining the issue, Facebook's Chief Product Office Chris Cox had the following to say in a post on — you guessed it — Facebook:

An individual on Facebook decided to report several hundred of these accounts as fake. These reports were among the several hundred thousand fake name reports we process every single week, 99 percent of which are bad actors doing bad things: impersonation, bullying, trolling, domestic violence, scams, hate speech, and more — so we didn't notice the pattern. The process we follow has been to ask the flagged accounts to verify they are using real names by submitting some form of ID — gym membership, library card, or piece of mail. We've had this policy for over 10 years, and until recently it's done a good job of creating a safe community without inadvertently harming groups like what happened here.

Cox went on to clarify the real-name policy, saying the aim is to have Facebook users using the "authentic name they use in real life".

The fix? Facebook is re-examining their response protocol for those who report fake accounts. In this instance, Facebook asked that users who were reported provide documentation that they were who their account said they were. Hard to conceive someone getting a piece of mail or having a credit card under a stage name, though.

Moving forward, Facebook promises to be less abrupt in their response process. Facebook isn't yet saying how that will happen, or what stopgaps they have in place to discern "good actors" from bad ones.

Source: Facebook