Facebook is full of people who don’t wish to use their real names, a circumstance that is seemingly more common among public employees, teachers, younger people, and even those with an unpleasant ex or family; the social network is notorious for information leaking through likes and usage, and many people have been burned and are circumspect in their Facebook use.
It’s not like Facebook doesn’t know people don’t use real names all the time; some more egregious than others. You may see someone with a first name and middle name, someone with a phrase for a middle name (“Billy PraiseTheLord Graham”), or someone with just a totally whack, invented name to protect their identity or just because they can.
But if Princess Vanessa Sparklebutt is on your friends’ list, Facebook might ask you to rat her out soon enough. The social network appears to be cracking down on pseudonyms on the service, and they want you to help root out people who seek to hide behind a fake name while Facebooking.
However, Facebook says that they’re not going to do anything to TOS violators who use a fake name on the service; the social network told Talking Points Memo that the initiative is just part of their habit of gathering data overall. A spokesman said:
“This isn’t so we can go and get that person in trouble … None of our surveys are used for any enforcement action.”
“Basically, what this model does is help better inform us in how to classify different types of accounts. Just because we’re showing a question about a particular user doesn’t mean we suspect them of anything. The user is chosen by a system.”
It’s estimated that nearly nine percent of Facebook users are members of the service under a false name.