Facebook received plenty of criticism this year when they proposed a change to their policy that dictates how users identify themselves on the social network. The ‘real name’ policy was meant to crack down on fake accounts manned by cyber bullies, but some of the LGBT community found that it could lead to wrongful disablement of accounts, especially for transgender people (who don’t always identify with their birth name) and drag queens and kings who use their stage names.
The outcry didn’t go unheard. Famously pro-LGBT, the company has went ahead with a change of policy, but now allows users to explain why they want to change their name and now when people “flag” and account (the process of notifying Facebook of a fake account) they’ll be required to include more information.
“We are deeply invested in making [this policy] better,” VP of growth for Facebook, Alex Schultz. “I’ve seen first hand how people – including LGBT people – can be bullied online by people using fake or impersonating accounts.”
“We also understand the challenges for many transgender people when it comes to formally changing one’s name,” he also added. “That’s why we’re making changes now and in the future, and will continue to engage with you and all who are committed to looking after the most vulnerable people using our product.”