Facebook is still working to resolve the issue of deactivating or suspending accounts where users deploy aliases to protect their identities against the backdrop of the company’s “real-name” policy.
The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company was responding to a news report in The Guardian today that the social media kingpins had continued to deactivate the accounts of drag queens who used aliases on the site to protect their real identities weeks after the issue surfaced. Some victims of domestic violence also use aliases on their accounts for protection.
San Francisco-based drag queen Sister Roma told The Guardian Friday that she challenged Facebook back in September to stop deactivating or suspending accounts where members of the drag community used aliases. Sister Roma is leading the charge to get Facebook to alter their policies to protect drag queens and transgender users who use stage names, for example, on their user accounts.
On Friday, Facebook reached out to VentureBeat in reaction to Sister Roma’s new accusations.
“We are committed to ensuring that all members of the Facebook community can use the authentic names they use in real life. Having people use their authentic names makes them more accountable, and also helps us root out accounts created for malicious purposes, like harassment, fraud, impersonation and hate speech,” a Facebook spokesperson told VentureBeat Friday in an email.
To be sure, Facebook are old friends and supporters of the gay and transgender communities. The real-name policy was implemented to protect the integrity of the site against fraudsters and criminals using Facebook accounts for nefarious purposes. My story on that here.
Sister Roma told The Guardian today: “Every time one or two [accounts] get fixed, a handful get suspended. We really feel like we’re swimming upstream, and while I’m hopeful that Facebook is doing the right thing, it’s discouraging.”
Facebook said it understood the issue and was working with sectors of the drag community to resolve it.
“Our team is busy working to improve the implementation of this standard so that some of the issues people recently encountered can be prevented in the future,” the Facebook spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that the real-name policy is still firmly in place.