Facebook’s vice president of growth, Alex Schultz, acknowledged that Facebook’s current ‘real’ names policy doesn’t work for all and that the company has received numerous complaints regarding difficulty in the process of verifying their names in a published letter obtained by BuzzFeed.
Addressing this issue, Facebook wants to make it easier for users to verify that they are using their “real” names. The improvements, according to the letter, will be put under scrutiny starting in December.
Numerous human rights foundations including the Electronics Frontier Foundation (EFF), the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, and dozens of other organizations in the U.S. and abroad had sent an open letter to Facebook earlier this month, requesting the social networking giant to fix its incompatible policy.
It’s time for Facebook to provide equal treatment and protection for all who use and depend on Facebook as a central platform for online expression and communication,
the letter said.
The letter is stated to represent transgender and gender variant individuals, those who use pseudonyms to protect themselves from violence, people who have already been silenced by Facebook’s current policy, and those whose legal names “don’t fit the arbitrary standards of ‘real names’ developed by Facebook.”
Schultz, in his letter, addressed the above issue by stating that Facebook doesn’t require people to use their legal names, just “the name that other people know them by.”
Making this verification of names process is a task that Facebook is trying to achieve now. The company is testing a new way which could help people share the circumstances surrounding their choice of name with the website so that the process can be simplified at both ends.
Profile reporting will also see an update and will allow users to provide more information about why they are requesting action be taken on an account. Schultz also stated that any identification information provided will be secure and will be encrypted for when it’s temporarily stored on the Facebook server with decryption protocols available for 30 days, after which the data will be permanently deleted.
Facebook will also be providing personalised support for people whose accounts have been suspended.