Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stated that the social media website will not back out of its real name policy, during a Q&A session with users on his Facebook page held earlier this week.
When questioned whether the policy would stand to change in the future, Zuckerberg answered by offering arguments for which it helps improve experience for everyone. He stated that people will tend to act less abusively against other users when using their real name and not under the protection of an alias or anonymity.
The CEO added that using real names improves overall experience by making the site easier to use. He gave the example of people new to Facebook who search for real life friends on the platform, which he can easily find by typing their real names into its search functions.
Zuckerberg also addressed the general confusion which the policy creates. He clarified that users are under no obligation to use their legal name as Facebook profile name, but that they should use what they are called in real life. For example, if your friends use a diminutive version of your name to address you, you should be able to use it as a profile name. This, he thinks, supports every possible type of user, including the transgender community.
Facebook’s real name policy asks users to type their real name on their profile, but this is not associated with any kind of real-life check at first (though Facebook might ask for legal documents if suspicions of identity theft or other allegations appear). However, it restricts users from adding numbers, symbols, unusual capitalizations, titles or random words as names. The company stood back behind this policy countless time before when allegations that it had no right to do so appeared.
The policy has recently come under criticism from the transgender community, which states that this could act as a basis for other users to bully transgender users for their real life nicknames. One case surfaced recently had a transgender man who went to changing his legal name simply to “Scout”. Since using only one name is not an option provided by the social media site, he had been using the abbreviation Nfn (standing for no first name) as a placeholder, until Facebook locked him out of his account.
Facebook also rejected Scout’s passport, as it was almost a decade long and listed him as a woman. He then provided two credit cards, a social security card, his driver’s license and many other documents which had his legal name on it, with his profile being unlocked a week later.
Image Source: emarkzuckerberg.com