On Facebook, I’ve been asked to update my status by adding family members. The problem is I can’t do that right now. The one member of my family that matters to me and is important to me has been locked out of Facebook.
That member is my husband Prime.
Now, my hubby’s name is his legal name and he has the documents to prove that: he’s provided them to FB in order to show that he is who he says he is. Everything went well until Sunday night, when he was logged out of his account and locked out. The reason why? He had to prove to Facebook–again!–that he was who he said he was. Only this time, he’s hit roadblocks.
Those legal documents are not as legal to FB this time around. He still doesn’t have his account back. I’m not sure how far this may go.
Today, I discovered that the Nameless Coalition wants Facebook to change its policy, citing the massive problems with Real Name. People have been harassed and bullied, abused women have been stalked, LGBTQ members have been outed, etc. It’s more than obvious that this policy is a terrible idea.
Facebook’s response was beyond terrible, however (emphasis mine):
“While we know not everyone likes this approach, our policy against fake names helps make Facebook a safer place by enabling us to detect accounts created for malicious purposes,” the representative said. “It makes it harder, for example, for terrorist organizations to hide behind fake profiles, school bullies to anonymously smear the reputations of others, or anyone else to use an anonymous name to harass, scam or engage in criminal behavior.” Nonetheless, the representative said the company has been working on improvements to the policy and related tools for months, based on direct feedback from Facebook users.
So basically, if we don’t keep Real Name, the terrorists win. Gotcha.
There’s only one massive problem with this–the idea that a terrorist would be stupid enough to post with his/her given name aside–and that’s how Facebook handles everything. You have no idea who may have reported your name and if they did so simply to be an asshole. And yes, this has happened: Facebook’s “Report” button has been used to silence political critics. You have no idea if the person who lodged the complaint has a legitimate beef or if they are doing this as a silencing tactic. Since you don’t know and are never told, nothing is done about the situation. And if it turns out that the person who reported you did so just to be a prick, there isn’t any action taken against them. But that’s not the half of it.
Let’s be clear: Facebook has made demands that legal documents, such as driver’s licenses, be used to verify your claim. Granted, they relaxed that rule in June but that is one of the documents that they will suggest you send them in order to make your case. They hide behind the fact that you can “black out” certain things but if you do, they’ll try to claim that it isn’t enough information. It’s patently ridiculous.
It’s also bullying. It’s absolutely bullying.
Congratulations Facebook. You are now nothing more than petty bullies. And yet you wonder why teens are hopping over to Tumblr. You guys are like dinosaurs, completely ignorant of when the meteor may hit.
Only in this case, you’ve been given the warnings. You just aren’t listening.