Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is standing his ground on his new “real name” policy on the social network. The controversy with the real name policy began when certain minority groups began protesting, stating that Facebook’s real name policy was discriminatory, specifically against Native Americans, transgenders, and domestic violence survivors according to the IBI Times. Recently, Mark Zuckerberg made a statement to the falsities of their claims.
“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.”
This issue with Facebook’s real name policy, according to some minorities, is that it doesn’t allow for people to distinguish themselves from American’s hateful society. For transgenders, using a real name that is either male or female could make them the target of cyber bullies, as their Facebook photos don’t often reflect the gender that their real name suggests. Native Americans, on the other hand, appear to be under siege by Facebook itself. Recently, many Facebook accounts with Native American names have been suspended. Nadia Kayyali, an activist for Electronic Foundation, has dubbed the real name policy “broken,” and gives her reasons why.
“Without putting more controls on how people can report profiles, Facebook has given any user the ability to decide that they are the arbiter of someone else’s name – even when that name represents centuries of cultural tradition, as it does for Native Americans, or belonging in an adopted family for marginalized people, as it does for drag queens.”
Facebook continues to stand firm on their real name policy because it is essential for the protection of all Facebook users. The company does admit that the policy needs reforms, and a recent official statement made to Colorlines read,
“Over the last several months, we’ve made some significant improvements in the implementation of this standard, including enhancing the overall experience and expanding the options available for verifying an authentic name. We have more work to do, and our teams will continue to prioritize these improvements so everyone can be their authentic self on Facebook.”
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg himself has stated that the real name policy is not nearly as strict as people are making it seem. According to Facebook’s CEO, the real name policy allows users to use their own discretion when choosing their FB names.
“There is some confusion about what our policy actually is. Your real name does not necessarily mean your legal name. Your real name is whatever you go by and what your friends call you. If your friends all call you by a nickname and you want to use that name on Facebook, you should be able to do that.”
[Image via USA News]