Jan 16, 2019 | Updated: 01:26 PM EST

Facebook to Change 'Real Name Policy'

Nov 02, 2015 11:08 PM EST


With good reason at hand, you will now be able to change your Facebook name. This slight alteration followed last Oct. 30 when the social networking site announced that it is planning to make some changes with regard to its real name policy in response to some advocacy group's disapproval.

The adjustments the company plan to implement include giving more contexts to name preferences. Facebook has always required users' real names to be registered. However, this received heavy criticisms on some members of the trans community and advocates who find that posting their authentic names may pose harm due to the nature of their work. In addition, with regard to reporting violations and preventing harassments, Facebook will now require users to give an explanation why they are flagging a profile.

"We want to reduce the number of people who are asked to verify their name on Facebook, when they are already using the name people know them by," Alex Schultz, vice president of Growth for Facebook, said In a statement. "We want to make it easier for people to confirm their name if necessary."

To avoid online harassments, some members of the LGBT community opt not to use their real names. However, they have become targets of Facebook's existing policy to remove fake accounts. "Facebook maintains a system that disregards the circumstances of users in countries with low levels of Internet penetration, exposes its users to danger, disrespects the identities of its users, and curtails free speech," a joint letter sent to Facebook by Electronic Frontier Foundation, Human Rights Watch and the ACLU.

These changes will take effect next month. "This should help our Community Operations team better understand the situation," Schultz said. "It will also help us better understand the reasons why people can't currently confirm their name, informing potential changes we make in the future." 

However, once your name has been reported fake and shut off from Facebook, the company will require a list of documents, like ID, bank statements, IRS receipts to name a few, to comply. Nevertheless, Facebook made clear that they are not removing the policy because "When people use the name others know them by, they are more accountable for what they say, making it more difficult to hide behind an anonymous name to harass, bully, spam or scam someone else."

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