Facebook’s real name policy has come under increasing criticism, especially from gay rights groups and activists.
Now the social network has decided to make some changes to the way its rules are enforced. While not changing the policy per se, Facebook is introducing a new system that allows users to report fake names and a support team to walk them through it.
The new system includes support channels for specific name complaints, including LGBTQ issues, non-Western names, and harassment and abuse cases.
In the past, the process was much faster, with users being able to simply report a fake name without providing much evidence or reasoning. Users who now report a fake name will have several descriptive fields to choose from (for example, “This profile does not represent a real person”). In addition, a mandatory report providing specific information must also be completed. Facebook claims that’s it to figure out how the allegedly bogus name is “different from everyday life.”
With the new process, defendants will also have one week to defend their name. This is where specific name issues come in, with users being asked to fill in the option they identify with.
The social network clarified that this was not a change from its real name policy, which means users will still be required to use their real name on the platform. If you are accused of using a false name, you will need to upload an ID as confirmation within a week or your account will be suspended.
According to Facebook, the new tools are currently being tested on mobile and desktop on a limited basis in the United States only. By next year, the platform aims to reduce the “number of people who have to go through an identity verification experience, while maintaining the safety of others on the site.”
Facebook’s real name policy has come under scrutiny several times this year. Protests were organized by a coalition of drag artists in June when the company cracked down on their alleged bogus profiles. Facebook has worked with a number of gay rights groups on the new tools, including GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign.