If you’ve read my blog before or been listening to the news recently you’ll be aware of the recent problems being faced by the LGBT and Drag community on Facebook. A controversial real name policy, a policy that has always been in place but rarely enforced in the past, has been used to delete a number of profiles of people that are believed to have been ‘using fake names’.
Facebook have since said that he problem occurred when a single user reported hundreds of accounts belonging to drag queens and transgender people last month. The company said that it did not realise that these groups were being targeted as they were amongst several thousand fake name reports that are processed every week.
Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox acknowledged that the experience had been "painful" for those involved.
‘I want to apologize to the affected community of drag queens, drag kings, transgender, and extensive community of our friends, neighbours, and members of the LGBT community for the hardship that we've put you through in dealing with your Facebook accounts over the past few weeks,’ he said.
Facebook have expanded upon their real name policy and have changed their stance from people needing to use their legal name to the name that they use most in everyday life. Meaning that for drag performers, transgender people, actors, writer, victims of abuse or bullying then they can continue to use the names on the accounts that were just a week ago under risk of being deleted.
|Drag performer Sister Roma was one of the people that met|
with Facebook to protest their policy.
I’ve seen arguments ranging from ‘lying about your name shows lack of integrity’, to ‘you don’t pay to use Facebook, if they want to delete you they should be able to’ to some extremely transphobic comments that I’m not going to share here.
The bottom line is the policy that they were trying to enforce was wrong. It was unfair and potentially dangerous to those they were targeting.
I don’t know if Facebook have reversed their decision on this policy because they came to their sense and realised that the policy was unfair or if it’s simply because of the amount of backlash and negative attention they are getting. I hope it’s the former, but even if it’s not I’m not going to complain because I’m just happy that they have changed their mind.
At least now I and others can continue to use Facebook without the fear of our accounts suddenly being deleted.