Facebook just posed a statement apologising for the consequences of its draconian policy requiring that people use their “real” names on Facebook. The policy was used to unfairly target members of marginal LGBT communities, but we’re promised a solution is in the works.
In a posting on his Facebook profile, Chief Product Officer Chris Cox explicitly apologized to the “affected community of drag queens, drag kings, transgender” people who got into trouble when their profiles were reported as fake a few weeks back. The subsequent outcry after the incident led to a push back and even lit the fire over an early-stage Facebook competitor, Ello, that doesn’t require real names. After making the excuse that Facebook receives hundreds of thousands of fake name reports, Cox explained that the policy is not intended to target the LGBT community.
Our policy has never been to require everyone on Facebook to use their legal name. The spirit of our policy is that everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life. For Sister Roma, that’s Sister Roma. For Lil Miss Hot Mess, that’s Lil Miss Hot Mess. Part of what’s been so difficult about this conversation is that we support both of these individuals, and so many others affected by this, completely and utterly in how they use Facebook.
Still the company hasn’t backed down from its real name policy, though it admits that there needs to be a mechanism for evaluating marginal cases. The content of what this mythical fix might be isn’t clear yet, so we’ll reserve judgement until we see some movement. [Facebook]