Facebook claims its practice of forcing users to go by their “real names” (or “authentic identities” as Facebook spins it) makes the social network a safer place. In fact, the company has often claimed that the policy protects women who use the social media platform, even when faced with community advocates pointing out that the policy facilitates harassment, silencing, and even physical violence towards its most vulnerable users. EFF has been among the voices telling Facebook that its real name policy is in serious need of revisiting, and we’ve heard from users across the world that they’ve been kicked off the site unfairly.
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.
That’s the message 75 human rights, digital rights, LGBTQ, and women’s rights advocates have for Facebook. We’ve joined a broad global coalition to send a letter to Facebook explaining exactly why the policy is broken, and how Facebook can mitigate the damage it causes. We’re looking forward to seeing Facebook’s response.