“Facebook is a community where people use their authentic identities. We require people to provide the name they use in real life.” – says the ‘What names are allowed on Facebook?’ page about Facebook real name policy. So basically, Facebook wants its users to use their ‘real name’ only. A user whose name doesn’t seem authentic to Facebook, receives a nice account suspension notice.
Thanks to this real name policy, Facebook has been gaining much infamy among users since long. I remember Google also opted for accepting only ‘real looking names’ when it launched Google Plus. Google dropped the policy soon after but it never looked like Facebook will also hit that road. The policy has caused issues to many genuine users in past and those users had to ‘prove’ their identity to get their account back.
Facebook Real Name Policy Does it Again
A young Australian man of Vietnamese descent was recently caught in Facebook real name policy trap and got his account suspended at least three times. The name of this 23-year old man is Phuc Dat Bich, which is pronounced as ‘Phoo Da Bic’. A recent post by Phuc Dat Bich on Facebook went viral in which he blasted Facebook in anger over account suspension multiple times.
“I find it highly irritating the fact that nobody seems to believe me when I say that my full legal name is how you see it,” Bich wrote in a Facebook post. “I’ve been accused of using a false and misleading name of which I find very offensive. Is it because I’m Asian? Is it?
After being accused of having a ‘false and misleading’ name, Phuc Dat Bich had to provide a photo of his passport to prove his ‘real’ identity.
It seems Phuc has finally made Facebook believe that his real name is actually ‘real’ as his account remains active at this moment. There are multiple users on Facebook having similar name, by the way.
Another Facebook user had a similar experience last week when she got her account suspended over having similar name to the terrorist group ISIS. The user, whose name is Isis Anchalee, tweeted about the account suspension. She also provided a copy of her passport to prove her name was real. After her account suspension made it to the news, Facebook unblocked it eventually.
Facebook thinks I’m a terrorist. Apparently sending them a screenshot of my passport is not good enough for them to reopen my account.
Responding to the increasing complaints, Chris Cox, Chief Product Officer with Facebook, issued an apology last year for the ‘hardships people have to go through owing to the real-name policy of Facebook.’
“In the two weeks since Facebook real name policy issues surfaced, we’ve had the chance to hear from many of you in these communities and understand the policy more clearly as you experience it. We’ve also come to understand how painful this has been. We owe you a better service and a better experience using Facebook, and we’re going to fix the way this policy gets handled so everyone affected here can go back to using Facebook as you were.” – Cox wrote in a long post on Facebook.
After this post by Cox, it appeared that Facebook real name policy is being dropped. But that was not the case. In response to recent criticism by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and American Civil Liberties Union, Facebook’s Alex Schultz said that Facebook would add new tools to improve how users confirm their name on Facebook when signing up. He also went to say that “we do not require people to use their legal names on Facebook. Instead, we ask people to use the name that other people know them by.”
The real name policy system can automatically flag any suspicious looking account which appear as fake. While this system is designed to prevent misuse of Facebook accounts and frauds, it seems to be causing frustration among many users.
What are your thought about Facebook Real Name Policy? Do you think a social networking site should have authority to ask for your identity and provide them proof when required? Feel free to have your say.