Facebook Is Asking Users If Their Friends Are Using Their Real Names

    September 21, 2012
    Chris Crum

Facebook doesn’t allow users to use fake names. Sure, people use them all the time, but technically, it’s against Facebook’s terms, and the company appears to have a new strategy in going after those who are in violation (or at least getting a better handle on how much it’s actually going on).

Facebook has been sending out survey questions to people asking whether or not their friends are who they say they are.

“Please help us understand how people are using Facebook,” Facebook says in a dialogue box. “Your response is anonymous and won’t affect your friends’s account. Is this your friend’s real name?”

A Twitter user tweeted out the following screenshot, which was picked up by Talking Points Memo (via TNW):

Facebook snitching

In case there’s any question about the legitimacy of the screenshot, TPM says Facebook has confirmed that it has been surveying users about their friends’ names for the past several months. The publication shares this from a Facebook spokesperson:

“This system has been in a few different incarnations over the past couple months. It changes depending on what’s being asked.”

“Facebook is a community where people connect and share using their real identities,” the company says in its name policy. “When everyone uses their real first and last names, people can know who they’re connecting with. This helps keep our community safe. We take the safety of our community very seriously. That’s why we remove fake accounts from the site as we find them.”

Of course, just because someone is using a fake name does not necessarily mean that the account is fake. Some people simply go by names other than those on their birth certificates. Ask Prince Rogers Nelson or Marshall Bruce Mathers III (who has more likes than anybody on Facebook, granted this is via a Page, not a personal profile).

It’s unclear exactly what Facebook is doing with the information it is collecting.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.