Facebook Announces It Will Let Users Use ‘Fake’ Names — Internet Replies: ‘We Already Were’

In a total reversal of Facebook policy presumably in response to a new social media site called Ello, Facebook is about to “allow” its users to use fake names when signing up for their service.

Ello is a new social media site that allows its users to sign up anonymously. For the moment, Ello participation is invite only, but the social media site says that it’s receiving over 40,000 requests an hour for new memberships, according to The Telegraph.

Since Facebook started in 2004, the company has always been adamant about people being who they actually said they were. With over four billion current users, that’s a lot of names.

Last Wednesday, Facebook chief product officer explained the reason behind the policy.

“First, it’s part of what made Facebook special in the first place, by differentiating the service from the rest of the internet where pseudonymity, anonymity or often random names were the social norm. Second, it’s the primary mechanism we have to protect millions of people every day, all around the world, from real harm.”

Though that was Facebook’s official stance as of last week, something has changed in the last five or six days. According to the New York Times, Facebook product manager Josh Miller is currently spearheading the production of an app that lets users use Facebook with whatever name they want. That app is expected to be available within a few weeks.

When The Telegraph contacted Facebook about the sudden reversal of its anonymity policy, Facebook refused to comment.

Ello has always allowed its users to post anonymously. In its online manifesto, the upstart social media site complains about Facebook — which it sees as social media’s version of Big Brother.

“Every post you share, every friend you make, and every link you follow is tracked, recorded, and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold. We believe there is a better way.”

The internet’s reply to Facebook’s new app? The overwhelming response has been that users have been posting anonymously since the social media network’s inception in 2004 despite Facebook’s attempts to make everyone represent themselves genuinely.

According to the New York Times, the reason behind the switch-up of Facebook’s policy is not just to keep up with Ello, but to make users feel more free to discuss sensitive and personal things online. However, one has to wonder where that second, more altruistic reason ranks with trying to keep up with the new social media network on the block. Once upon a time, Facebook was the company that set the standard. Now they seem to be chasing it.

[Image The Huffington Post]

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