Question: Which controversial policy has Facebook announced it is going to amend?
Answer: The “real name” policy – The policy change is intended to help certain communities, especially people who may have suffered domestic abuse
After passionate and some angry pleas from various vulnerable communities, Facebook has officially announced that it is planning on changing its “real name” policy.
The social network had faced intense pressure from rights groups over its hard-line stance on real names.
Founder Mark Zuckerberg was heavily criticised after he suggested that people that use two names, or have an alias, showed a “lack of integrity”.
Last year, prominent drag queens in San Francisco had their Facebook accounts removed due to them “violating the real name policy”. After considerable uproar, including protests outside Facebook’s HQ, the company has acknowledged that it had been a mistake to delete these accounts.
Facebook argued that insisting on real names played a role in preventing people anonymously harassing, scamming or engaging in criminal behaviour. The company has said “We’re firmly committed to this policy, and it is not changing. However, after hearing feedback from our community, we recognize that it’s also important that this policy works for everyone, especially for communities who are marginalized or face discrimination. That’s why we’re continuing to make improvements in this area.”
The improvements that Facebook mention include a new tool that can be used for reporting fake names, requiring anyone who is reporting another user to provide more context for their complaint.
Facebook has said that it received hundreds of thousands of reports of fake names every week and in the past, people were able to simply report a ‘fake name’. Now they will be required to go through several new steps which provide the company with more specifics about the report.
Hopefully, the additional context will then help the companies review teams better understand why someone is reporting a name, giving them more information on the specific situation.