A common problem that plagues social media sites like Facebook is the anonymity of the users accounts. In many cases, some use false names to pay tribute to a favorite character in a movie, video game, or book. This is often seen in various fan pages and groups that populate the social media sites. Others, such as authors, performers, singer/songwriters, use pseudonyms to promote their art, allowing fans to easily find them. New policies at Facebook were created in an attempt curb the use of false names, similar to the way Google+ forces users to register with their real names. A group of San Francisco drag queens decided that the policy is taking things too far, so they met with Facebook to plead their case against the real-name policy.
David Campos, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, joined a group of drag queens on Wednesday night to speak with Facebook about the policy that he feels puts cross dressers in danger if they are forced to reveal their real names. He is prepared to work with Facebook officials to ensure that a policy is created that not only protects individuals that might lead lives that are outside of society’s norms, but also allow them to indulge in their creative outlets in a safe manner.
“If we’re going to work together on this, we want acknowledgement that this policy is misguided,”
A drag queen who goes by the stage name Heklina feels that her life has essentially been erased by Facebook, and that they are attempting small scale genocide on alternate lifestyles.
“I have been Heklina for 20 years, and I have Facebook telling me Heklina does not exist. So they’re basically wiping you out of existence.”
As a means of compromise, Facebook stated that they will allow up to two weeks for users who identify with false names to change the names before pages begin to face deletion. Sister Roma, an activist with Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, shared her dismay in the temporary compromise.
“This is San Francisco. You’re dealing with a bunch of drag queens. Throwing together a rally and a demonstration is second nature to us.”
Facebook released a statement after the meeting to address the issue and defended their policy.
“We had a good discussion with the group about their perspectives on our real name standard, and we stressed how the standard helps prevent bad behavior, while creating a safer and more accountable environment
“We look forward to continuing the conversation with the LGBT community, so that we can work to ensure they can continue to connect and engage on Facebook.”
It is important to note that there are more people affected by the real-name policy than just drag queens. Many authors are also concerned that their pages will face deletion for using their pseudonyms to promote their hard work, as are many other individuals who use alternate names for various other reasons. Many individuals are sharing their dismay via Facebook statuses, but the drag queen community has stepped up as the heroes and heroines of the cause.
[Photo Courtesy: Fox News]