This week New Media Rights joined with the Nameless Coalition as part of a broad global alliance of over 60 human rights, digital rights, LGBTQ, and women’s rights advocates to send an open letter (full text below) to Facebook asking them to rethink their authentic names policy.
As it stands Facebook requires users to use their “authentic name”, AKA a name they use in the real world, as their profile name on Facebook. While Facebook doesn’t require proof of an authentic name when you sign up for the service other users can report you for using a fake name. At which point you’ll need to provide government issued ID, a library card, a magazine subscription or other document to prove that you are you or face losing your Facebook account.
The problem is that this rule is used as a harassment tool by certain Facebook users to target everyone from Native Americans to the LGBT community. It has even been used against users who may need to use pseudonyms for safety reasons such as journalists and domestic violence victims. Because Facebook is a key way for individuals to connect, organize and speak all over the world simply not using Facebook is often not an option. That’s why we joined with the Nameless Coalition to speak out against this problematic policy and ask for reforms to protect the rights of Facebook users.
Not sure how you can speak out against this problematic policy? Our friends over at the Nameless Coalition have put together a petition so you can also tell Facebook to fix its broken authentic names policy.