Facebook’s policy on real names only has got it in some PR hot water in the past, when it forced members of the LGBT community to use their legal (but not preferred) names. But it also seems like it has a track record of stupidity when it comes to the Native American community.
Colorlines has a report claiming that Facebook has suspended the accounts of several Native users — and has apparently been pretty poor about remedying the situation when presented with legal ID, as per Facebook’s official policy on the matter:
Oglala Lakota Lance Brown Eyes was booted from Facebook and when he turned in his proof of identification they changed his name to Lance Brown. After contacting the Better Business Bureau and threatening Facebook with a class action lawsuit, they sent him an apology and let him use his given name again.
It probably shouldn’t take a lawsuit to be allowed to use your real name on Facebook. But then again, this isn’t the first time the Zuckerbeast has made this particular mistake: last Columbus Day (not the most auspicious day for Natives to begin with), Facebook began locking Native users out, and took days to fix the problem once again.
Facebook is obviously in a slightly difficult situation here — enforcing its real-name policy is one of the cornerstones behind the network staying (relatively) troll-free. But at the same time, is the sanctity of the Timeline really worth insulting members of an already marginalised community, suspended accounts, and requesting multiple forms of sensitive ID? It’s a tough balance to strike, and one that Facebook perhaps isn’t nailing on the head right now. [Colorlines]