Facebook’s “real name policy” has come under a lot of scrutiny as of late. The criticism comes from all sorts of interests, but some of the main opposition has been from the LGBT community, domestic abuse victims, and even Native Americans.
It’s been a problem for plenty of others, too.
Now, Facebook says it’s making improvements to its real name policy, as it clearly “does not work for everyone.”
“We know the current process does not work for everyone. We are working on several improvements, with two goals in mind: First, we want to reduce the number of people who are asked to verify their name on Facebook, when they are already using the name people know them by. Second, we want to make it easier for people to confirm their name if necessary,” says Facebook’s Alex Schultz in a letter obtained by BuzzFeed.
The changes should begin to be implemented in December.
Specifically, Schultz says Facebook will allow user to give more context for why they’re using the name they’re using.
“Historically,when people were prompted to confirm their Facebook profile name, there was no opportunity to give additional details or context on their unique situation. We now plan to test a new process that will let people provide more information about their circumstances. This should help our Community Operations team better understand the situation. It will also help us better understand the reasons why people can’t currently confirm their name, informing potential changes we make in the future.”
Facebook will also make it a little tougher for people to report users for using pseudonyms – hopefully keeping people from using it as a form of harassment in and of itself.
Facebook also confirms that you no longer need a government-issued ID to confirm your name, things like bills and library cards work just fine.
Will it be enough to satisfy the protestors? Why not just do away with the policy altogether and let people use Facebook under any name they choose?
“We require people to use the name on Facebook that their friends and family know them by, and we’ll continue to do so. From experience, we know this policy helps make Facebook safer. When people use the name others know them by, they are more accountable for what they say, making it more difficult to hide behind an anonymous name to harass, bully, spam or scam someone else,”
This echoes the argument CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been making. Earlier this year, Zuckerberg said that Facebook’s real names policy helps keep people safe.
“It helps keep people safe,” he said during a July Q&A session. “We know that people are much less likely to try to act abusively towards other members of our community when they’re using their real names. There are plenty of cases — for example, a woman leaving an abusive relationship and trying to avoid her violent ex-husband — where preventing the ex-husband from creating profiles with fake names and harassing her is important. As long as he’s using his real name, she can easily block him.”
Image via mkhmarketing, Flickr Creative Commons