Following rather lengthy backlash from both LGBT campaigners and Native Americans, Facebook are set to change their real name policy.
Sadly, they are not removing it entirely, but the new policy will allow people to more easily prove who they are.
As most of you are probably aware, Facebook has required people to sign up with their real name, forcing users to send over their government ID if their identity was called into question.
For quite some time now, the real name policy has drawn criticism from transgender campaigners, as well as LGBT activists and Native Americans. Many of these people said that requiring their real name puts them in danger.
In response to these criticisms, a Facebook spokesperson has promised that this policy will be tweaked. However, they won’t get rid of the rule as it supposedly protects people from abuse.
The response came from Alex Schultz, who was responding to an open letter regarding the policy. Alex said that they would still “require people to use the name on Facebook that their friends and family know them by” because it makes people “accountable for what they say”.
But, there is a piece of good news. They said that Facebook will implement changes so that the process of proving your identity is more transparent and easy.
Basically, you can now give more information about your circumstances to the Facebook team. That doesn’t mean you can have different names, though, but will allow people to understand the reasons they can’t confirm their identity and “informing potential changes we make in the future.”
They will also no longer require you to present a government ID, and you will now be able to use non-legal forms of identification. This includes the usual fare of bills, or something like a library card.
Another point of criticism for many was the system for reporting fake names could be easily abused, and many found their accounts being shut down after an opponent reported them to Facebook.
Due to this, they will be using a new tool to report accounts, which will ask people for information on why they are reporting a profile and hopefully give the team better tools to judge whether or not an account should be shut down.
What do you think of the changes? My prediction is that many are going to feel that while these changes are a good step, they do not go far enough. Let us know your thoughts.