back to article Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names

Drag queens are protesting against Facebook's real name policy, after the free content ad network forced them to use their legal names on the service. A number of performers have complained about Facebook's actions after drag queen Sister Roma, who lives in San Francisco and is a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, …

  1. Flip


    Don't use it myself, so would someone please explain how the real-name policy is enforced? Is a credit card required for registration now?

    Or was this story a case where an existing user's name was demonstrably an assumed name, thereby prompting a response from Facebook?

    1. nanchatte

      Re: Enforcement

      I tried various fake names, but none of them took. It seems there is some language filter or something. Try John smith. It didn't work for me. When I create an account with a "suspicious" name, they asked me to send a photocopy of my passport/id/dirvers licence, FFS.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Enforcement

        I did manage to register under the name of John Smith. I use it for web sites with Facebook comments. Needless to say, I don't always want these comments to find themselves on the timeline or whatever it is of the Facebook friends I have under my real name.

        1. phil dude

          Re: Enforcement

          who are you Doctor Who? (the Scottish one...err the first one)


      2. Hipsterina

        Re: Enforcement

        I've only used fake names on the few occasions when I've wanted to test some idea. They always worked and a day later I'd discarded / forgotten each one.

        Perhaps it's different if you seek a longer lasting relationship with ZuckBook?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Enforcement

      This is true, my dog has his own page, he does not have a credit card by the way and I have successfully set up an account for a brick just to see if I could.

      As to names, there are so many fake profiles it makes no difference should you use a stage name.

      So long as there is a reasonable surname involved, Shepard for the dog and Brick it worked.

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Enforcement


      It's hard to go to an advertiser and say you have an audience of millions, with names like ButtFace97 and SharonZaSlag

      But if you can tie their facebook stuff to their Amazon purchases, their credit card and medical records you can target slag products specifically at Sharon

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Enforcement

        Money and cross site data collection/whatever they do now.

        So much easier to connect with Skype or loads of other services (Adds) and targeted adds when you know which bit of data from site A to link to site B even though the user has not specifically told you they use both sites.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Enforcement

      Even a credit card won't prove your name. You can get company cards is any old name.

      I know a minor radio "personality" who has had a card under his stage name for years... In fact... Just checked... Yes, he's still on facebook.

      It does make me wonder if we're going to see all the porn stars lose their pages because they really aren't called "Candy McJiggle" or whatever...

  2. nanchatte

    Just don't use Facebook. Simple.

    I quit when they stopped accepting Nanchatte as my real name. My friends know who I am and AFAIAC that's enough. I didn't want every tom dick or harry being able to run a search against my name.

    I know that Facebook is a private industry that can boost its income by showing clients that it has a "truthful" database of user's every personal detail and I know I'm tempting Godwin to poke through here, but Jews were forced to wear a star and I don't see the difference in Facebook forcing people to wear their "real name" in what is supposed to be a social context. I mean, it's not like every single selfie on Facebook is veracious anyway and they can easily hide the registered login name..

    Glad I didn't let the door hit me on the way out.

  3. Pen-y-gors


    I have (I think) four or five FB accounts, none of them in my 'real' name - what is a real name? Under UK law you can call yourself anything you like, so long as there is no intention to commit fraud.

    Actually, as this is El Reg, and I'm amongst friends here, I can finally reveal that my real name is Di Enw

    1. nanchatte

      Re: Odd

      That was then. Try again with a new account. They ask for id.

      I thought about faking my passport. But then thought. WTF, when do you need a service that fights against you....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Odd

      4 or 5? Does that mean FB should have sold for a quarter or less of its stock value? ;)

    3. phil dude
      Thumb Up

      Re: Odd

      the problem here is they are thinking that by knowing WHO you are, they can work out WHAT(as a commercial punter) you are.

      Unfortunately, govts also use an equivalently effective realname policy, especially when it comes to Trrism... trying getting yourself off the watchlist if someone who *sounds* like you does something suspicious.

      True privacy is getting really hard...


  4. banjomike

    Facebook have backed down in the past

    Salman Rushdie was being forced to use "Ahmed Rushdie" but they eventually backed down after a very public campaign. A social context is one thing but this is stupid. Some people (not me, I won't use Facebook for anything) might go to Facebook to follow the doings of a celeb but they will need to know birthnames in order to find them... So, film director J.J. Abrams is Jeffrey Abrams, golfer Bubba Watson is Gerry Watson, if John Wayne was still around he would be Marion Morrison. That would have gone down well...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Facebook have backed down in the past @banjomike

      You think The Duke has something to worry about. Look up Shirley Crabtree and then think of the obvious response when you called him Shirley.

  5. Hud Dunlap
    Paris Hilton

    What about Miley.

    Miley Cyrus isn't her real name. Would they tell her she had to use here real name? I am just guessing she has a Facebook page. I am not interested enough to check.

    1. Hipsterina

      Re: What about Miley.

      "Miley Cyrus isn't her real name. Would they tell her she had to use here real name?"

      I'd assumed she wasn't a real person.

      Was I wrong?

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: What about Miley.

      Shirley Hanah Montana?

  6. Archibear

    Yay, the Sisters!

    Sister Roma is a very well known member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (who, by the way, have been doing good things [by spoiling it for everybody else] amongst the LGBT and wider communities since 1979).

    Basically, everybody knows her as Sister Roma ... pretty much nobody recognizes her non-sister name. She's been Sister Roma for longer than Facebook has existed. Hell, for probably longer than Mark Zuckerberg has existed.

    The fact that she doesn't have a bit of paper with that as her name on it, is really not the point - what FB are doing is saying "you know that name everybody knows you by? You can't use it. Well, you can use it but it's just some subordinated thing, it's not your *real* identity". Or, "OK, you can use it but then you've got to be a 'brand' or a 'corporate entity'".. or some such equally fake strategy boutique style nonsense.

    That's really one of the most offensive things you could do to a person .. and I'm not surprised she and the others are pissed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yay, the Sisters!

      One of the most offensive things? You don't have much of an imagination, sister.

    2. P. Lee

      Re: Yay, the Sisters!

      Well, would you buy Cisco switches with dodgy serial numbers? Why should fb be any different?

      Although I have to ask, if you want to be known as Sister Act, why wouldn't you change your name to that? If you want "Sister Act" to be an alias for you... set it as your alias.

      Or don't use facebook, or lie. I think I set up an fb account years ago, with a false name, a photo I grabbed off the internet and I never posted once. Oddly, I did get friend requests...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "wrapped in paraphrases"

    What a beautiful metaphor, kudos!

  8. Hipsterina

    I wonder

    Is there such a name as Mark Fuckerberg?

  9. Oldfogey

    No check on creating account.

    I have just been and created a FB account in a false name. There was no ID check at all, except to send a message to an email AC - for which I used a disposable one.

    They obviously have some kind of list of what they think are false names, and just reject anything that appears on the list.

    BTW, I have deleted the account.

    1. Peter Prof Fox

      Re: No check on creating account.

      You clicked on [Delete account]. That's not the same thing as having that account vanish as if it never existed.

      1. Oldfogey
        Thumb Up

        Re: No check on creating account.

        For a "real" account that would be true - in this case they had a false name, false date of birth (I am apparently 114 years old) and a disposable one-use email address, so it maight as well be for all the good it will do them.

        And I was on public wifi.

  10. JP19

    unfair, hurtful, discriminatory and an invasion of privacy

    Poor little mites. No one forces anyone to have a facebook account there is no god given right to a facebook account. If you don't like the policies don't use the service.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: unfair, hurtful, discriminatory and an invasion of privacy

      Not necessarily true in the US of A

      If their fake name software rejected a disproportionate number of African-American names or Arabic or Chinese as fake they could be in trouble. Even if it wasn't deliberate.

      >If you don't like the policies don't use the service.

      Try running a bus company in the USA with a policy of "all black passengers must sit at the back" - and see how far you get,

    2. SDoradus

      Re: unfair, hurtful, discriminatory and an invasion of privacy

      Indeed. Which is why am not now, nor have I ever been, a facebook user. Much to the annoyance of my daughters. Still, I would appear to be in the minority.

  11. Ken Darling


    Many celebrities' real name is different from their stage name. Are they supposed to use their real name, too (if any of them are on Facebook).

    Maurice Micklewhite, Georgios Panayiotou, Caryn Johnson, Peter Hernandez, Ilyena Mironov, to name but a handful.

    Or is it a case of one rule for them...

    (Not a user of Facebook myself, so I have no idea if 'celebrities' use this medium.)

    1. midcapwarrior

      Re: Celebrities...

      Guessing celebrities register their names. Trademark status as it where.

  12. Shugyosha
    Paris Hilton

    Artist page?

    I don't understand why they can't just use an artist page? I follow plenty of rappers on Facebook, for example Del the Funky Homosapien. I'm pretty confident that's not his real name, but it doesn't matter because the page is for him as a performer, where he can use whatever name he wants. It also allows him to seperate his public and private life.

    This all sounds like a load of fuss over nothing. Drama Queens?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Many actors and artists official name is not their real name

    But they're allowed to use the names on Facebook. See no difference.

  14. Kepler


    It is impossible to take Facebook's "real name policy" seriously — let alone the things it says in support of that policy — so long as Mark Zuckerberg's dog has a Facebook account.

  15. Kepler
    Big Brother

    Political Dissidents

    Facebook has finally made an eminently sensible exception to its claimed[1] "real name policy" for drag queens, yet it remains happy to apply this policy to Chinese political dissidents who risk their lives — at least potentially — by criticizing their government and its policies.[2]

    When will these hyper-puritanical Nazis come to their senses and realize that the only sane policy — and the only way Facebook can be fair and evenhanded in the application of that policy, in all cases — is to let users use whatever name they wish?


    [1] See above re Mark Zuckerberg's dog.

    Some churlish souls might object that the dog is — presumably — using its real name ("Beast" — or so we are told!), but I strongly suspect the reality is that some human being who already has a Facebook page in his or her own name is also making posts in the dog's name. Thus maintaining at least two separate accounts under at least two different names.

    Remember this when reading what the Facebook mouthpieces say about people using false names or multiple accounts.


    [2] I thought I first learned of this from El Reg, but apparently I misremembered. I could find no pertinent articles using the site's search feature. But this piece from The Guardian will suffice as an introduction for the unfamiliar:

    Microsoft knuckled under to the ChiComs some 5 years earlier, shutting down Michael Anti's blog. See, e.g.:

    Granted, "Michael Anti" has suffered great inconvenience rather than death, but there is little reason to doubt that the PRC could and would take him out should he become too annoying.

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