Facebook’s “Real Name” Policy Generates Global Outrage

Facebook suffered over a year’s worth of bad press after advocates began highlighting the harmful effects of its "real name" policy. The policy, which required users to use a name on a government ID, sparked outrage by sending many users into a process resembling a state of “online purgatory,” with their accounts disabled until the user submitted identification with a “legal name.” The policy had an outsized effect on vulnerable people using non-legal names for privacy and safety reasons, with multiple news outlets highlighting its effect on transgender people, survivors of domestic abuse, and Native Americans. After both online and offline advocacy, including protests at the San Francisco Pride Parade and public pressure from advocacy groups including the ACLU, Facebook finally committed to changing the policy.

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