Facebook has made some changes to its controversial “real names” policy in response to an open letter written by a number of advocacy groups slamming the social network for being discriminatory. The real names policy required that users go by their “authentic name,” rather than a pseudonym, when using the social media site. The policy has been widely slammed by transgender and First Nations users posting under a name other than their legal one. In response to the letter, penned in early October, Facebook has made two changes to its policy. First, users will now be able to provide additional context and explanation for using their preferred name when confirming their accounts. Additionally, anyone who flags another user for using an alternate name will now be required to provide additional detail about their complaint. The social network hopes this will dissuade people from reporting profiles without just cause. If a profile is flagged for using a fake name, the user is locked out until they can confirm their identity with Facebook. While Facebook does not technically require users to go by their legal names on the site, the site does require users to go by “a name other people know them by.” Facebook has defended the real names policy saying that it makes the platform safer by holding people accountable for what they say online.
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