Yesterday, PFLAG National—along with local and national representatives of the drag and LGBTQ communities—attended a meeting regarding Facebook’s real-name policy, which requires people to use their real names (defined by Facebook as the names they use in everyday life) on their Facebook accounts.
The policy came under fire in the last several weeks, when several hundred accounts (primarily of drag performers) across the social media platform were flagged for using fake names; many of these accounts were subsequently locked.
The meeting gave us an opportunity to hear Chris Cox, Facebook’s Chief Product Officer, and other Facebook representatives apologize for their mishandling of the issue and talk about their plans for the future. Those plans—including better customer service for users, a better process for authenticating identity, and a much better clarification of how the real-name policy works—all move Facebook closer to their goal of having their platform continue to be a place where everyone, including the members of the LGBTQ and drag communities, can be their authentic selves.
As a member of the Network of Support, PFLAG National has previously provided Facebook education and guidance on issues such as bullying, gender, pronoun use, and more; we are committed to doing the same now with the real-name policy. We will continue working alongside local advocates and other Network organizations so that plans are helpful, implemented in a timely manner and, most of all, allow all who use Facebook the continued opportunity to safely share their chosen authentic identities to connect with others.