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Facebook changes its ‘Real Name’ policy after public furore


Facebook Will Soon Allow You to Use Your Alias

You Need To Explain Why You Dont Want Your Real Name On Facebook

In one of the major turnarounds, Facebook is letting go its ‘Real Name’ policy, with a few conditions. Facebook on Friday, confirmed that it is modifying the terms of its heavily criticised “real name” policy which demands users go by their “authentic name” when on the social network rather than an alias to protect their identity.

While there has been opposition to the real name policy since Facebook first started it, the opposition has grown more in recent years. The trans and Native American communities have repeatedly protested the policy, citing its use by trolls as a weapon of harassment. Today’s announcement comes in response to an open letter penned by advocacy groups including the EFF and ACLU.

Facebook’s Alex Schultz in a reply to the letter has now bowed down to popular demand and made changes to its real name policy, with riders though. First, Facebook now allow users to provide additional context and explanation for using the name they do when confirming their accounts. “This should help our Community Operations team better understand the situation,” VP of Growth Alex Schultz wrote in the announcement. “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.”

Second, Facebook will also require users that flag others for employing alternate names to provide additional detail and information in their complaint. Facebook said that though it is modifying real name policy, it wants to make the extra step hard enough to dissuade people from frivolously flagging profiles, which locks the targeted user out of their profile until they can confirm they are who they say they are.

Additionally, Facebook will tweak both the name confirmation process, no longer requiring government-issued IDs, as well as provide a “more robust” and transparent appeals process for users locked out of their accounts.

Schultz said that this does not imply that Facebook is backing away from its real name policy. He said that this policy will actually make Facebook a safer ground, specifically to wipe out spammers who are shielding behind anonymity.The policy changes are scheduled to activate in December.

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