Facebook updates real name policy in response to criticism

Since Facebook rolled out their real names policy, the company has gotten a lot of (justified) negative feedback. More than a few of my own friends have been affected by the policy, for one reason or another. While I can understand that they want to ensure that people know who they're communicating with, it's had many adverse effects on a host of people. Thankfully, the company has announced some forthcoming changes that should help.

In a post today, Justin Osofsky, VP of Global Operations, and Todd Gage, Product Manager stated that the company recognizes that it is "important that this policy works for everyone, especially for communities who are marginalized or face discrimination." Which is nice to hear, as those groups are the ones who seem to be affected most by this. Their new approach has two specific goals in mind to accomplish this.

The first is to reduce the amount of people who are actually asked to verify their name. They plan to accomplish this by changing how "fake names" are reported. Rather than just simply clicking a report button, users will need to go through several steps, and explain exactly why they are reporting someone. By doing this, and providing specific information, it will hopefully allow Facebook to weed out the fake reports from the real ones.

The second goal is to give affected users a better way to explain their circumstances, if they are not using their legal name. These users will be given a week to provide the necessary information, and to explain their special circumstances.

While these won't alleviate all of the issues caused by the real name policy, I'm glad to see that Facebook is finally taking some action that will help those that have been affected by it. The proposed new features have already started being tested on a limited basis in the US. Depending on the feedback they receive, they will hopefully be rolled out globally.

VIA: Facebook