Here’s the thing…I opened my Facebook account and saw this message – confirm my identity. As a privacy attorney, I thought nothing of it….wow, a social media platform adding extra security steps. Except it’s not a security step for my account.
The next screen asked me to enter the name by which I am conventionally known. Well, I entered my name “K Royal” which rather than thanking me for my prompt attention took me to a page in which I was asked to submit government identification to prove I am me. I was outraged! and that is an understatement.
Turns out, if one does not wish to upload two forms of government ID, one can choose from about 30 non-government ID options, but at least one must contain a photo and date of birth.
This is truly and utterly ridiculous. Let me count the reasons:
- It’s a social media site. Not a government benefits site or healthcare or financial or education. Social. Fricking. Media.
- Facebook has questionable privacy policies – have you heard?
- They’ve been engaged in this ridiculousness for a couple of years and caught some heat for it.
- They say that there is no algorithm to detect potentially unreal names, but they tend to target groups of people.
- They say they want your “authentic” name – the one you go by on a daily basis. How many of us would be caught by that, because the name we go by is not on government ID? In this digitized world, it is very difficult to get government ID or an ID with a picture and a date of birth showing a nickname rather than a birth name. Consider my cousin, Skinny, who has gone by the nickname “Skinny” for 70 years or so. The only ones who even knew his government ID name were his mom, brother, and the Social Security Administration. He was forced to change it to Michael on Facebook, because they would not accept the name he went by in daily life and he did not want to upload three forms of ID to prove Skinny. I was ready to battle for him, but he decided to acquiesce. I should’ve battled, cause look at me now.
- My name is K Royal. Yes, at one time, there was something else there, but it is no longer. Has not been for many years. I have gone by K since at least I was six years old. I have about 100 different stories behind my name, but the point is- K Royal is my true, legal, documented, full name.
- What the heck will Facebook do with my ID if I do send it? which I won’t.
- It is easier for them to Google “K Royal privacy” than it is for them to review anything I did send.
- Sending ID over open email is utterly, unequivocally stupid.
- Facebook does not offer a secure alternative to sending ID, anyway. And if they did, I still would not trust them.
So I have been fired from Facebook. One of the privacy professionals who truly enjoyed them. They have not yet answered my communication to them asking about it. I am apparently no one to them, but on the other hand – I just might finally get an instagram account!
Don’t let the digital door hit you in the button on the way out.
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