Facebook tweaking real name policy to benefit the marginalised

By: GizBot Bureau

Facebook has announced couple of changes to its real name policy to empower people from communities who are either marginalised or face discrimination, including the LGBT community.

Facebook tweaking real name policy to benefit the marginalised

According to Justin Osofsky, vice president of global operations at Facebook, the company wants to reduce the number of people who are asked to verify their name on Facebook when they are already using the name people know them by.

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"On Facebook, we require people to use the name their friends and family know them by. When people use the names they are known by, their actions and words carry more weight because they are more accountable for what they say," Osofsky wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

"However, after hearing feedback from our community, we recognise that it's also important that this policy works for everyone, especially for communities who are marginalised or face discrimination. That's why we're continuing to make improvements in this area," he wrote.

Last October, Facebook had promised that it will make changes to its real name policy after a number of false account flagging incidents led to the suspension of LGBT members' pages. Beginning Wednesday, Facebook has rolled out new tools that address two key goals.

Facebook tweaking real name policy to benefit the marginalised

"First, we want to reduce the number of people who are asked to verify their name on Facebook when they are already using the name people know them by," Osofsky said. "Second, we want to make it easier for people to confirm their name if necessary.

These tools have been built based on many conversations with community leaders and safety organisations around the world," he noted.

The company is introducing a new version of the names reporting process that requires people to provide additional information about why they are reporting a name. In the past, people were able to simply report a "fake name" but now they will be required to go through several new steps that provide Facebook more specifics about the report.

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"This additional context will help our review teams better understand why someone is reporting a name, giving them more information about a specific situation," the company official added. The company is also testing a new tool that will let people provide more information about their circumstances if they are asked to verify their name.

"People can let us know they have a special circumstance, and then give us more information about their unique situation," the post read. This additional information will help the review teams better understand the situation so they can provide more personalised support.

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"We want to create the best experience that we can for everyone, and we will continue to make improvements until everyone can use the name that their friends and family know them by," the post announced. According to a Tech Crunch report, Facebook has recently received criticism around requiring people to provide forms of legal identification, which do not always reflect someone's preferred name.

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