Facebook modifies 'real names' policy, testing use of assumed names

Facebook on Tuesday modified a "real names" policy once protested by drag queen performers, the gay community, abuse victims and others.

See Full Article

New tools being tested in the United States were designed to reduce the number of people asked to verify their names at Facebook and make it easier for them to do so when needed.

But, Facebook made clear that it is not backing off from its policy that people at the social network should use names that friends and family know them by, and not those intended to hide who they really are.

"When people use the names they are known by, their actions and words carry more weight because they are more accountable for what they say," said an online post by product manager Todd Gage and vice president of global operations Justin Osofsky.

"It also makes it harder for bullies to anonymously smear the reputations of others, or anyone else to use an anonymous name to harass, scam or engage in criminal behavior."

Drag queens who got word late last year that their accounts using stage names were at risk sparked a high-profile protest joined by activists, domestic violence victims and others who want to avoid having real names on social network profiles.

The list of people understandably interested in using assumed names at Facebook goes far beyond drag queens to judges, social workers, teachers, entertainers, abuse victims and others, according to activists.

In the past, people could get an account suspended by simply tagging a name as fake at the social network.

Room for reasons

Those reporting suspected fake names to Facebook must now provide more information, such as the reason for their concern.

"We're also testing a new tool that will let people provide more information about their circumstances if they are asked to verify their name," the online post said.

"People can let us know they have a special circumstance, and then give us more information about their unique situation."

Teams at Facebook use the additional information for context while reviewing reports of names being fake, according to Gage and Osofsky.

Other changes made by Facebook during the past year include expanding options for verifying names and letting people keep access to social network accounts while going through the process.

"Early in the new year, we will be looking at other ways we can reduce the number of people who have to go through an ID verification experience, while preserving the safety of other people on the site," Gage and Osofsky said.

Facebook late last year vowed to ease its "real names" policy after publicly apologizing to quell a simmering dispute over its enforcement of the policy.

Facebook executives and representatives of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities collaborated on a solution deemed acceptable to both sides, allowing people to use assumed names, subject to verification.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Florida eco-friendly town opens for business

    Tech & Science CTV News
    With a farm-to-table restaurant, driverless shuttles, homes built with the latest green techniques and a massive solar farm to offset energy use, Florida's first sustainable town is now open for business. The buzz about Babcock Ranch, an eco-friendly city of the future and the largest development of its kind in the United States, drew more than 15,000 people out this month for a peek. Source
  • 11 endangered wild elephants rescued from mud in Cambodia

    Tech & Science CTV News
    PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Eleven endangered wild elephants were rescued in Cambodia on Saturday, four days after getting stuck in a 3-meter-deep mud hole, officials said. The animals were rescued in northeastern Mondulkiri province, home to about 250 wild elephants, said Wildlife Alliance official Bothmroath Lebun. Source
  • How lasers, environmentalists and Google combine to reduce methane emissions

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A new project has brought together university researchers, an environmental organization and Google to help find and track methane leaks in U.S. cities. Methane, a natural gas, is commonly used as an energy and heating source, but also makes up about 25 per cent of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Source
  • Another reason to flip the off switch for Earth Hour: light pollution

    Tech & Science CTV News
    For the 11th year running, cities worldwide will turn their lights off Saturday to mark Earth Hour in a global call to action on climate change. But the moment of darkness should also serve as a reminder, activists say, of another problem that gets far less attention: light pollution. Source
  • Black hole gets unusual 'kick' out of galaxy core thanks to gravitational waves

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A team of international researchers got a bit of a shock recently when a supermassive black hole — something that normally anchors the centre of a galaxy — was spotted speeding away from its home. The reason? Gravitational waves, says the research team. Source
  • Bad breath: Study finds array of bacteria when orcas exhale

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SEATTLE -- When the mighty orca breaks to the surface and exhales, the whale sprays an array of bacteria and fungi in its his breath, scientists said, some good, and some bad such as salmonella. Source
  • Trump's proposed NASA cuts take aim at Earth science

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Officials at NASA were delighted that U.S. President Donald Trump's budget proposal allocates $19.1 billion for the agency, down only 0.8 per cent from last year, but the proposal also cuts several programs to study the Earth. Source
  • 'Call of Duty' gamers converge on Toronto for national championship

    Tech & Science CTV News
    TORONTO -- Many people have a go-to tool at work. For Andrew Ivers, it's a KBAR-32 this weekend. The 19-year-old from Toronto is a professional gamer who hopes to use his virtual assault rifle to help Team GIRG win the Cineplex WorldGaming "Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare" tournament final Sunday. Source
  • Apple: Software flaws in latest WikiLeaks docs are all fixed

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Apple said purported hacking vulnerabilities disclosed by WikiLeaks this week have all been fixed in recent iPhones and Mac computers. The documents released by the anti-secrecy site Thursday morning pointed to an apparent CIA program to hack Apple devices using techniques that users couldn't disable by resetting their devices. Source
  • Spacewalking astronauts prep space station for new parking spot

    Tech & Science CBC News
    ?Spacewalking astronauts prepped the International Space Station on Friday for a new parking spot reserved for commercial crew capsules. The 402-kilometre-high complex already has one docking port in place for the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner, which should start carrying up astronauts as early as next year. Source