Date
21 November 2017
Drag queens (from left) Lil Miss Hot Mess, Sister Roma and Heklina, talk about their battle with Facebook. The company on Wednesday apologized to drag queens and transgenders for cracking down on pseudonyms. Photo: AP
Drag queens (from left) Lil Miss Hot Mess, Sister Roma and Heklina, talk about their battle with Facebook. The company on Wednesday apologized to drag queens and transgenders for cracking down on pseudonyms. Photo: AP

What a drag: Facebook makes U-turn on fake names

Chalk this one up for the guys in drag — and dock Facebook one point.

The social networking behemoth has agreed to end its crackdown on the use of fake names after an uproar from drag queens.

Product chief Christopher Cox apologized in a post to people affected by the recent sweep, according the Wall Street Journal.

The policy change allows hundreds of drag queens who were flagged for violating Facebook’s real-name policy to use their stage names on Facebook.

“The spirit of our policy is that everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life. For Sister Roma, that’s Sister Roma. For Lil Miss Hot Mess, that’s Lil Miss Hot Mess,” Cox wrote, referring to two vocal critics of the policy.

Facebook’s terms of service say people must use the same name “as it would be listed on your credit card, driver’s license or student ID”.

On their Facebook pages, Sister Roma reacted positively to the apology while Lil Miss Hot Mess welcomed the move but said she will be happy when her name is changed back.

Sister Roma said a protest scheduled for Thursday at San Francisco City Hall will now be a victory rally.

Knowing its users’ real identities has been central to Facebook’s business model, which involves building detailed profiles of people so it can send them targeted advertisements based on their personalities, the report said.

This week, Facebook launched a new advertising service that capitalizes on its vast cache of real identities.

Facebook called it “people-based” advertising and said it was superior to other ad services that rely on less-personal data.

Fake or duplicate accounts and names make up a chunk of Facebook’s 1.32 billion users. Facebook has aggressively pursued those it believes aren’t being truthful.

In some cases, it has forced political dissidents living under authoritarian regimes to use their real names, a move criticized by human-rights advocates, the report said.

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RA

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