The LGBT community now has an official Facebook apology.
Today, Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox took to the social media site to apologize to those of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community for its recent response to the real-life names that the LGBT community uses in its daily interaction with Facebook.
Chris Cox notes that the issue with the names of drag queens and transgender individuals, in particular, pertains to fake account reports: “An individual on Facebook decided to report several hundred of these accounts as fake. These reports were among the several hundred thousand fake name reports we process every single week, 99 percent of which are bad actors doing bad things…so we didn’t notice the pattern. The process we follow has been to ask the flagged accounts to verify they are using real names by submitting some form of ID – gym membership, library card, or some piece of mail.”
Cox also says that the company has had this ID verification process in place and that it’s worked well until now.
Drag queens, in particular, confer upon themselves stage names that they either use for professional reasons or as a permanent name change, and transgender individuals use their Facebook names as their new names that were not conferred upon them from birth.
Facebook’s policy did not take into account these individuals because it was not established to consider these individuals. The company startled the LGBT community some days ago when it required LGBT individuals to supply their real names and ID information in order to have their accounts verified and spared from elimination on Facebook.
Up and coming social network Ello allows those of the LGBT community to maintain whatever name on the social network they so desire. Perhaps Ello’s 31,000 signup requests per hour traffic rate may have had something to do with Facebook’s miscommunication.
Facebook should be commended for publicly announcing its apology. It seems that the company’s policy that has survived for 10 years wasn’t built to consider the LGBT community. Facebook says its policy was implemented to protect those who have been victims of domestic abuse and stalking, as well as scams and hoaxes of various kinds.
The Mark Zuckerberg social network has made its share of enemies with its social experiments and increased user data gathering rules, but the company’s also fought against the government’s data-gathering overreach with normal user accounts by protesting the right of the government to gain access to its users.
Hopefully, the company that’s had a commitment to protect victims of domestic abuse, ID theft, and scams will now protect members of the LGBT community whose stage names or new names allow them to experience deserved human liberties as worldwide citizens.