back to article Facebook apologizes for binning accounts of drag queens

Facebook has backed down and apologized to a section of the social networking community for shutting down their accounts on the grounds that they weren't using their proper names. "I want to apologize to the affected community of drag queens, drag kings, transgender, and extensive community of our friends, neighbors, and …

  1. Sebastian A

    "Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity."

    Holy hell, whatever happened to a healthy work/life balance? Allowing people to freely speak their minds without real-world repercussions can be a bad thing but it's also hugely therapeutic. In some oppressive regimes it'll actually save lives.

    This guy needs to get off his high horse.

    1. Ole Juul

      "This guy needs to get off his high horse."

      It is clear that he lacks integrity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It is clear that he lacks integrity.

        Is this what they call a British understatement? :)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    "Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity."

    My ass.

    What it allows me to do is be descent and upstanding during my normal workday from 7am-8pm, and then I can log off and log back in as someone who isn't as culturally refined and do all of the things that are fun.

    I wonder if all of Mr.Z's online gaming accounts are in his full name?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: "Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity."

      So use a different website, which doesn't have real-name rules in their T&Cs, for that. It's not your company, if you want to use their service play by their rules... tell them your name and let them make money from your data. If you don't like either of those things, as many don't, steer clear.

      1. Just Enough

        Re: "Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity."

        Unfortunately choosing to have nothing to do with Facebook makes little difference, as long as it is automatically slurping data out of other people's contact lists it is already recording data about you. Whether you like it or not.

        On the basis alone I encourage everyone to lie and lie often to facebook. And Zuckerberg can stick his opinion up his behind.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mr Cox is a Cock, and not of the jungle fowl kind.

    Anonymity is ever more critical in this corporate, big data, demographics, privacy raping world.

    Google+ got the message loud and clear, Facebook obvious hasn't, not that I'd use a 'social' (spook person profiling) network.

    Mr Cox can just stick that opinion where the sun doesn't shine.

  4. PleebSmash

    Plenty of people get away with having a "fake name" account on Facebook (and the names are full of memes, trust me). Drag queens, domestic abuse survivors and others actually have compelling reasons to hide their true identities.

    I'll join this burgeoning chorus in condemning Zuck. He doesn't want what's good for users or society. He's looking out for the advertisers, his real customers. He doesn't want that 140 dollars per user figure to shrink. This setback for the policy is in response to bad PR, and the policy is not going away. It's just getting more selective enforcement.

    "According to Cox's statement, Facebook has never required people to use their legal name, merely the name they are known under."

    Get out of here with your BS intact policy. How do you determine the name someone is known under? You put them under the microscope and kill their anonymity in pursuit of the targeted ad impression dollar.

    1. Craigness

      It's actually harming facebook's revenues. If I support ideas which I don't want my boss to know about (she's a racist homophobic vegan Norfolk separatist in case you were wondering) then I'll use something other than facebook for those discussions, and to post pictures of my barbecue parties. So facebook will know less about me and not be able to show the most appropriate adverts.

    2. Daniel B.
      Go

      "According to Cox's statement, Facebook has never required people to use their legal name, merely the name they are known under."

      Yeah, I call BS as well. A friend of mine got his FB profile taken down, and was explicitly asked to show some ID if he wanted to have his profile reactivated. He just discarded it and opened up a new one elsewhere.

      So when I hear Cox saying "it isn't required", he's outright LYING. And yes, there are many reasons why someone would not use their real name and/or use alternative profiles, work stuff being the #1 reason. Every single company that has tried to force "Real Names Only" on users has seen those attempts backfire in a very bad way real quick. Anyone remember Blizzard's "Real ID" situation from a couple of years ago? Remember how that ended? Now try to do that on FB en masse, I'm pretty sure FB's "userbase" would deflate faster than the Hindenburg. It would be glorious!

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Since when has FB ever been about anonymity? Of course they want to make money from you, they're a business and you aren't paying to use the service.

      If you want to be anonymous on the web, just use another service.

      1. PleebSmash

        They haven't stopped people from being anonymous on Facebook. Whatever they are doing to enforce the policy is ineffective. Instead, they are angering users and creating bad press.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Since when has FB ever been about anonymity? Of course they want to make money from you, they're a business and you aren't paying to use the service.

        Can we stop this outright lie, please? You ARE paying to use this service - only the payment is not in currency or bitcoin, it's with personal details.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Yes well spotted. And if you're not providing that information, you're NOT PAYING, which was rather my point. If you're not happy with what the service costs, don't use it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Is that you, Zuck?

          2. e^iπ+1=0

            NOT PAYING

            Of course you're still paying with your data even if the name you use is not real. 'Like' fried chicken and someone will pay to advertise their chicken based fried product to you, they don't need your name.

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Just another reason NOT to use FB. A handle, nickname, etc. has been perfectly sound for many years. First on the BBS's and then the 'Net. For any social network service to insist on positive identification (other than work related) is a crock. On the other hand, I suppose that they really want the advertising dollars and not people doing freebie (spam) advertising. But... it's still a crock to clamp down on screen names. I guess John Wayne would have had to use Marion Morrison?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      The whole point is FB isn't about being on the net or doing nerdy anonymous things, or uniting strangers in common hobbies who don't need to know each other. It's about connecting actual people to other people they know in real life.

      A forum like this is entirely dissimilar from a social network. The clue is rather in the word 'social'. If you have no interest connecting to people you know IRL, online, then don't use FB... keep your real life real and your internet life separate. But lots and lots of people see the internet as a tool to facilitate RL relationships, not only as an entirely separate world... that seems to be the crux to me. Sites like FB overlap internet and real-world.

  6. nanchatte

    What follows this title is merely a comment. Nothing more, nothing less.

    "Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity."

    You're a fucking retard if you believe that your identity is singular and fixed. Everyone needs multiple identities to operate as a social being. Do you treat your family like you treat your co-workers? Do they call you boss? No. Do you pander to your underlings like you do your own offspring? Of course not. One lot calls you "Mr. Cox" or "Sir" The other lot call you "Dad", "Chris", or "Dear".

    A person with integrity has one identity in his local community as someone who helps the old lady across the road, takes part in local events, gives a little to charities he has thoughtfully chosen, chats amicably with neighbours and helps when they have a puncture. Yet still has time to take little junior to the park at weekends for a game of footie... And another identity as a hard-assed but fair businessman who gets the best from his team, motivates them to achieve and shows them what they are capable of.

    There is a profanity perfectly suited for people who mix the former identity with the latter under one flag - usually with the attendant publicity shots: A politician.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: What follows this title is merely a comment. Nothing more, nothing less.

      If your identity is defined by what others call you or how you interact in different situations, you have no real identity. I am still me whether at home with my wife, at work, at church, or at the golf club. I might act differently and be treated differently but the core of who I am is the same. I don't believe different things or have different values. I don't enroll in a local sport club under a fake name... I'm me. Why does this (have to) change suddenly because a computer is involved?

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: I don't enroll in a local sport club under a fake nam

        So that's your problem : you're confusing real life with the Internet.

        No wonder you're so confused about things.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: I don't enroll in a local sport club under a fake nam

          That's your problem, you're confusing nerds with normal people. To them, the internet is just one small part of the world, a way of finding information about the world and communicating with the rest of the world. It's not a separate world they need to hide in where they need to hide who they are.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dream on

    "The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly."

    I think the days of The Odious One and his ilk declaring privacy 'over' ad nauseum and making it stick because it fattens their bottom line are most definitely reaching an end. Extra pleasant that his own company's lack of ethics is in no small way responsible for the impending backlash.

  8. Craigness

    Straight rights?

    Someone commented here recently about their friend who wanted to use her stage name on Facebook to connect with her fans. She could be gay, but it's something a straight person might want to do as well, so will Facebook extend its apology to the straight community and allow them to choose their own names too?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Straight rights?

      Facebook think that people who have fans should have a page which the fans follow. That can be their stage name and then they have their personal account which can have their proper name associated with it.

      1. Craigness

        Re: Straight rights?

        That's basically the response I gave to the commenter who brought up the issue. Why can't drag queens do the same though?

  9. JDX Gold badge

    "Plenty of other users don't feel comfortable giving the firm their personal information"

    So don't use the site then. A FaceBook profile is not a right, having your profile deleted is not impinging on your personal freedoms.

    The entire point of FB - and subsequently the core of their business model - was a way for real people to connect, and re-connect, with each other. If you don't want to connect under your real name, use one of the million other websites out there which don't care.

    1. PleebSmash

      Re: "Plenty of other users don't feel comfortable giving the firm their personal information"

      And yet, Facebook has backed down in part on their policy in response to pressure. I guess not participating isn't the only solution, huh?

    2. BoldMan

      Re: "Plenty of other users don't feel comfortable giving the firm their personal information"

      Define "real people"?

      Is Michael Caine any less real than Maurice Micklewhite? Which is the "real person"?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Plenty of other users don't feel comfortable giving the firm their personal information"

      The entire point of FB - and subsequently the core of their business model - was a way for real people to connect, and re-connect, with each other. If you don't want to connect under your real name, use one of the million other websites out there which don't care.

      No, the entire point of FB was to abuse the inherent social nature of human interaction to milk people for their personal details in every way possible, neatly skirting privacy laws by asking your FRIENDS for details about you (or just outright taking it off you by making it "easy" to integrate address books etc) instead of asking you directly to which privacy laws apply. There is no benign motive for FB. It is straightforward about getting as many personal details off you as possible for profiling - at least they stopped with abusing people's names and pictures for product endorsements.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: "Plenty of other users don't feel comfortable giving the firm their personal information"

        Person creates product to make money shocker (not).

        The motivation may be to make money from real data, but that is also the point of the website and the reason it got so popular. I can't find my old school friends if they are all calling themselves BigJugs44 or whatever. Like LinkedIn, the whole value - both financially and to the users - is designed around the concept of being able to find people you know easily.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Plenty of other users don't feel comfortable giving the firm their personal information"

          "I can't find my old school friends if they are all calling themselves BigJugs44..."

          All of them? Popular school I'll bet.

  10. Fihart

    Fakebook.

    If Facebook just dumped all the accounts in pets' names they'd lose a fair percentage of users.

    Don't know why they chose to focus on a sexual lifestyle when, presumably, there are actual fraudsters out there.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If Facebook just dumped all the accounts in pets' names they'd lose a fair percentage of users.

    Not to mention how it would piss off the pets.

  12. Santa from Exeter

    What's in a name

    My handle on here is how I am known to a large section of the people I know, even my other half refers to me as Santa.

    Facebook, however, forced me to use a different 'real' name.

    It's still not the one I use at work/to the Poliss, but everyone who needs to know about it does.

  13. Adam Inistrator

    chris poole "facets of a diamond"

    chris poole of 4chan has more useful ideas about the uses and abuses of identity and anonymity

  14. IglooDude

    I do wonder how much a (slightly) misspelled last name impacts the automated data-trawling that FB and its advertisers perform?

    (It isn't idle curiosity, mind, more of an experiment where the results are not visible to me.)

  15. Tree

    Zuckerberg can stick his opinion up his behind

    The name above is not what my parents gave me. If I ever agree to the terms of service, it will not be with a real surname nor will true stories be told. His advertisers can bite me, too.

  16. Gartal

    Given that facebook is a horrible experience, why would you bother?

    Cancel my account thanks Garcon, and one of whatever you're having for yourself.

  17. Pookietoo

    "Legal name" is bullshit concept anyway

    Under English law you can be known by any name you want, as long as it's not done to deceive or defraud.

  18. DougW
    Pint

    Lack of integrity?

    Facebook is the poster child when it comes to lack of integrity.

  19. Kepler
    Facepalm

    "Beast"

    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.

  20. 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:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/mar/09/chinese-blogger-mark-zuckerberg-dog

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

    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/09122008/profile3.html

    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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