Disclaimer: a privacy person at Facebook was in touch with me through mutual friends, but at this time has merely reiterated the request for ID. Hopefully, she is working back channels to help.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has posted an open letter to Facebook about the social media’s authentic name policy. You can sign this open letter on that link.
“Even though Facebook claims it has improved its policy, users continue to get kicked off the site, losing access to support groups, an essential political platform, and all their contacts and content. Some users have even had accounts reinstated with their legal names, putting their safety at risk.”
This resonates with me on so many levels, especially the loss of access to support groups. I use one support group for my autoimmune disorders and it’s on Facebook. In addition to losing the connection with so many people in one convenient spot, I lost the one support group that truly helped me make it through life’s challenges. Good googli moo! I just admitted that social media is truly a worthy endeavor.
Here are the demands:
• Commit to allowing pseudonyms and non-legal names on your site in appropriate circumstances, including but not limited to situations where using a legal name would put a user in danger, or situations where local law requires the ability to use pseudonyms.
• Require users filing real name policy abuse reports to support their claims with evidence of abusive behavior.
• Create a compliance process through which users can confirm their identities without submitting government ID.
• Give users technical details and documentation on the process of submitting identity information such as where and how it is stored, for how long, and who can access it. Provide users with the ability to submit this information using PGP or another common form of encrypted communication, so they may protect their identity information during the submission process.
• Provide a robust appeals process for users locked out of their accounts, including the ability to speak to a real Facebook employee.
I openly signed the letter and encourage others to do the same. If proof of identity – if real names – were so vital to social media, it would be a requirement to sign up. People would know this openly beforehand.
A variety of groups signed the letter, including the ACLU, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Digital Rights Foundation, One World Platform, Global Voices Advocacy, and Human Rights Watch. Given the incredible amount of damage that this policy can cause to people – from direct threats to indirect – one would think that Facebook would rethink this policy. Perhaps the most frustrating is that once you are blocked for their review….you cannot reach anyone there to discuss it.
To be clear: my real name is K Royal and I support social media. I loved Facebook and its potential.
Authentically K Royal