After receiving widespread criticism from several civil liberties organizations across the world, Facebook has promised to reduce the restrictions that are associated with its controversial “real names” policy.
With the new policy, users will still be required to use “authentic names”. This requirement has long drawn the ire of certain groups, such as Native Americans and transgendered individuals.
Facebook does not require that people use their legal names, but it does require that users identify using a name that other people recognize them by. The website has had a difficult time separating unusual legitimate names from identifiers that violate the policy.
There are two major new changes to this Facebook policy. The first change is that users will be given the option to provide more information about a unique name. This way, Facebook will hopefully be able to better separate people with legitimate name concerns from jokesters trying to use a silly name. It will also help Facebook make future changes to their naming policies.
The other major change is that anyone who flags others for violating the naming policy provide greater context into the situation. Falsely flagging profiles for allegedly using a phony name has long been a popular method of harassing others on the website.
Additionally, Facebook is constructing an updated version of its reporting process in order to require people to provide greater insight as to why a profile is being reported.
The company says that it was to obtain a better understanding of specific situations.
Previously, the company’s policies have drawn criticisms from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Human Rights Watch and more. These groups have said that Facebook is obligated to provide equal treatment and protection for all users.
Another issue that still remains on Facebook is that users are often required to submit a government issued ID in order to confirm their identification. The website has recently relaxed these requirements using things like utility bills, bank statements, library cards and school ID cards.