In a frankly creepy overreach of authority, Facebook is going after sisters and drag queens, requiring that they use their “real names” or else risk getting booted from the site. In some cases they’ve requested users send in a copy of their drivers license to prove a name is legit.
The issue was brought to our attention by San Francisco drag personality Sister Roma, who has been forced to change her personal profile to Michael Williams — a name few even know.
Here’s a newsflash for you, FB: There are a million reasons why someone would choose to self-identify with a name other than the one that’s printed on their birth certificate. And really, it’s absolutely none of your business in the first place.
Which is perfectly summed up by some of the responses Sister Roma has received to her post:
We know Facebook just rolled out gender-neutral family options, so clearly they’re trying to appear sensitive to nonconforming identities. So what’s with the name police?
I deleted my facebook account years ago. Is this policy being enforced on all users?
Sooo…does that mean all those Hollywood, actor, performer types have to use their real names? What about corporations with FB pages? Companies use DBA’a all the time. Is FB going to require individual companies to use the Owners name?
I’m glad I deleted my account a long time ago. It’s become nothing but a surveillance and tracking device anyway.
Meh. They will still gleefully use it while FB makes money off of all their data and support anti-gay politicians in the process.
Facebook has gotten so very restrictive and invasive, its time to jump ship to Moovz.com, people.
It’s a private company. Nobody is requiring anybody to have a Facebook in the first place. It happens to be an awful company and it doesn’t deserve the time or energy people devote to it.
Every time I think I might start a new FB account (I quit over a year ago), they remind me of why that would be a mistake…
This is absolutely disgusting. I have friends on Facebook that are the names that they have chosen for themselves. This level of transphobia is sickening.
Personally, the fact that everyone uses Facebook has allowed me to keep in touch with friends and family that I never would have been able to maintain contact with otherwise. Not saying its great, I’m just saying as a tool its relatively useful.
I thought that Business Names are, in fact, legal names. Think “Facebook” — in that case, drag queens should incorporate their names. … Gads, FB has become such a high-handed company.
Then delete your damn FB account! I’ve been telling people for years that the site is nothing but trouble. The best protest is to just remove yourself from them. Especially those people with thousands of “followers” that drive traffic. Kick ’em (FB that is) where it hurts.
I’m glad I never had an account there.
Facebook requires the use of a legal name so that people have accountability for their words and actions on the site. With MySpace, predators used fake profiles to lure kids and criminals used MySpace profiles to facilitate crimes. What really spurred the growth of Facebook was the accountability of the site which is rooted in the use of real names. Facebook does have a section for nicknames that can be used, or drag queens can put up a performer’s page and use their stage names. This sounds like user error on the part Sister Roma. To Chris, business names are legal names.
I am sorry, but this article enrages me. Facebook is not targeting drag queens, Facebook is enforcing their terms of service. How about doing some research and learning what the difference is between a profile and a fan page. Under Facebook’s terms of service (which you agreed to when you signed up, by the way), your profile is supposed to be the legal representation of yourself. It is supposed to display your legal name and actual picture, this way Facebook knows you’re an actual person and not a robot or crook trying to phish people’s information or god knows what else. A Fan Page can be anything you want it to be, any name, anything… as long as you are the authorized representative of that brand, celebrity, public figure, or entertainer. So please, stop acting like Facebook is hating on drag queens or gay people in order to get clicks to your website. It’s crap like this that makes the gay community look stupid, and it’s part of the reason why we struggle with our REAL causes.
As for my references…
They’ve also been targeting burlesque performers here in the Bay. Contrary to popular belief, taking one’s clothes off in a bar is not as socially acceptable as one might think, and this could effectively “out” some performers at work, which could cost people jobs. I don’t even want to get into the personal safety aspect of this, but it also threatens the personal safety of these (mostly) women and a handful of dudes. Common use names should be allowed as display names. It’s not a difficult concept and it keeps people safe.
@tdx3fan: This is not “transphobia.” Actual transgender people experience that… not cis-gender actors like the guy in this article. Calm the f down.
It’s not just happening to drag queens – a co-worker had his account locked when he, with a male picture and name – though not his real name, was also asked to prove that was his name by sending a picture of his DL.
I tried sharing this story on Facebook and this is what I got, “An error occurred. Please try again later.”
@bobmister250: it was not an error of Roma’s. It happened to me as well and to many other artists, authors with pseudonyms, musicians, even a married woman has been blocked for using her married name (odd). And this has all happened in great numbers in the last 48 hours. The nick name does not work because FB puts the legal name in huge letters and the nick name in small ones. It is a humiliating defect for a performer to be defaced publicly in a medium where there work entertains and assists (in the case of Sisters) constituents. The Like Fan Page does not work because one cannot interact with the public unless they post on your page. You cannot post or send messages to anyone and you do not have a feed to see what they are posting, and to share or respond to it.
For talent with a small fan base and limited funds for promoting as well as up and coming talent, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all seem to be trying to strong arm them into paying to have larger audience reach. Reports have come out Facebook withholds many like/fan page posts from being seen by people who liked the page. Google+ is similarly obnoxious.
@joesacco1584: Facebook allowed artists and performers to use profiles for many years. I have employed this medium to work with my constituents for 6 years. This enforcement came with no warning, no chance to take the page down, remove my copy written materials or to arbitrate redress. The fan page is grossly insufficient: we cannot communicate with our constituents, post messages or on their pages and posts nor see their posts in a feed. It cuts the communication that FB is touted for to 1/3 of what a profile can do. I work with gay teens in arab countries, and deeply Christian right areas of the US. FB allows them to communicate with me easily and effectively… until now.
@Brian: Absolutely. But don’t get started with that *cis* bullshit. It’s a fake word with a fake meaning which isn’t even remotely close to the actual definition if the prefix and the root word actually made a real word.
@ShowMeGuy: I only use “cis” terms in response to sensationalized “trans” terms. It’s the necessary vocabulary for the topic. Lay off. This entire story, and all of the angry commentators, need to just lay off.
@Sister Unity: Fan pages can post messages and send messages. You are lying. Lying doesn’t bring in sympathy. Facebook is not the evil here. If you truly feel offended, then you need to begin by telling the truth.
This thread had twice as many comments an hour ago. Somebody is sensitive! I’m not even on Facebook (anymore), but I don’t see why all of its defenders had to be deleted. Queerty has an odd mission, it seems….
Canceled FB years ago, I have better things to do.
This will probably be modified. It sounds to me like a good policy going through awkward growing pains. There is a big problem with trolls setting up fake accounts and getting out of the no-anonymity policies on commenting boards, just for one example. Facebook is not about pretense; from the beginning it has insisted that its users be who they “are” (and yes, I am aware of the ad revenue purpose behind that) Sister Roma is not a fake persona, it is who this person really is, so I hope they get the bugs worked out soon.
Facebook is the Wal-mart of social media. It got rid of it’s biggest competitors and then created rules because of 2 reasons.
1. They can
and 2. Because even though more young users are switching over to Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, and Snapchat, people are too set in their ways to really rid themselves of Facebook as it is still the better means to stay in touch with family and friends.
I have a Facebook account, but not because I love my family… it’s because Huffington Post won’t let you comment without a goddamn FB account and some of those hags and bigots needed to be set straight.
@Sister Unity: “You cannot post or send messages to anyone”
WTF are you talking about?? Have you even tried using a Fan page?? You CAN post and send messages… You are either clueless, or deliberately lying to turn this into an “I’m being attacked” moment… cue the surprise…
They are not “targeting drag queens.” They are targeting anyone using a made-up identity. I know of at least one person who uses a first and middle name only on Facebook. They would be required to change as well. It’s just that it looks like a valid name so Facebook isn’t onto them yet. I personally would be more in favor of allowing Sister Roma since it is a legitimate stage name. I see where they are going with this though.
@Sister Unity: I understand the frustration, and yes Facebook used to allow performers to use personas for profiles before they created brand pages. I’m not taking issue with you or anyone effected by Facebook’s sudden decision to start enforcing their policy. I take issue with the way this story was written that portrays Facebook as discriminating against drag queens. I’ve known other performer friends of mine who have been forced to create a public figure page. They are not gay, drag queens, or burlesque dancers but use stage names here in Las Vegas. The way this article and headline is written is to evoke a sense of anger with the reader so that the chances of the reader clicking on the article are much greater. This is called click baiting, and it’s only purpose is to drive page views and thus increasing queerty’s digital advertising revenue.
All the better to keep track of these degenerates.
Hold on a minute – Sister Roma said that Facebook required her to use her male name on her personal page, not her Fan Page. There is a huge difference. This is not necessarily discrimination. It’s a way to stopping spam and fake accounts. We should all be able to understand this.
The article is poorly written and the writer clearly does not comprehend the actual situation. It’s sad that an import an gay media outlet allows such poorly written/conceptualized articles to be published.
I realized long ago that FB wanted to SPY and allow SPYING by third parties just like that obnoxious google plus…AKA advertising distribution and who knows what else. IRS and NSA perhaps? …so I use an alias. Totally fake name. But I’m not a famous person.
I think you CAN send and receive messages etc on a fan page. It’s a BUSINESS page that limits you. And a business cannot INITIATE the direct message only the personal page people. But who knows, they’ve changed the TOS so many times.
All kinds of craziness happens once you don’t have a personal page. Paid reach is the only way to achieve good reach on Facebook.
In their own words, they manipulate your feeds::
Facebook’s goal is to show “the right content to the right people at the right time”. It is paying off as Facebook now knows what makes for high quality content. It continually optimises its newsfeed to give its users the “most relevant experience”.
If content is engaging — with clicks, likes and shares — then the impact on organic reach is minimized. Its algorithm uses over a thousand different factors such as page profiles, how often that page is hidden and how fan bases overlap with fan bases for other brands.
Blah blah blah blah blah blah.
“This is not necessarily discrimination. It’s a way to stopping spam and fake accounts. We should all be able to understand this.”
Well you’re right it’s not discrimination. But it’s insistence on the importance of profitability models.
LOL Facebook couldn’t care less about spam etc. Except for the impact it has on THEM. Especially since they became an IPO. BEsides, anybody can SPAM regardless of the name.
The ONLY reason for “real names” is for the advertising. And the privilege of you losing any and all privacy you THOUGHT you had. AND your right to free speech is chilled.
HEY let’s see Queerty make EVERYONE post using their real names! Starting with frenchjr25 OK your turn…quick change your user name to your LEGAL NAME.
BTW Queerty before you make a software or policy change making users use their LEGAL NAME can you please upgrade and add an edit function? KTHX
Thats one of the reason why i hate using FB.i want them to stop updating the program.
So what? Queerty is highlighting the issue from complaints from DRAG QUEENS on a gay blog. Why would they care about Cirque du Soleil or Barnam and Bailey people?
Drag performers are in a unique position of being in COSTUME all the time and you’d never know their legal names in theory. Like Bunny. You wouldn’t even recognize her out of drag.
And yeah, it’s a problem for trans people. Even IF it’s in the TOS. It’s an issue for them. Worse than drag queens, actually because at least you can tell the drag queen too bad…you’re operating as a BUSINESS.
So now trans people cannot use their chosen name that ALL THEIR FRIENDS know them as until they get all the documents changed etc.? And how many years does all THAT take???
So it’s not an exclusive complaint for entertainers.
Here’s a question for ALL……….who hasn’t been required to either prove a cell phone or name on ALL of the major email providers (aol, live, google, yahoo) along with ANOTHER email address to verify user?
I lost one of my email accounts because I got so frustrated trying to sign into it after I changed everything I misplaced the new password. I was told by an obvious robotic email that I was more or less shit out of luck. Now I had to try to remember all the email addresses that were associated with it and couldn’t. It seems VERY intrusive that many site require you sign on with Yahoo, Googel, Facebook and just about any other thing that publicly displays what you are saying over the internet.
Yet no one complains. We all just march along like the sheeple that we ALL have become because there simply was no other choice. I noticed also that many sites have went back to their original policy because of lack of participation in the new system of tracking who said what to a name. Readership also began to falter until they began to reason as to why. But not enough said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and the new tracking method continues on.
Mark Zuckerburg doesn’t care about trans people or gay people or ANY people. He’s a greedy bastard who is trying to make money off a stupid idea. Stop using Facebook and find another way to connect with your fans. Stop bitching about Facebook. It sucks. Period.
FB is not just targeting Drag Performers & it’s nots an Anti-Homophobic issue, I have several straight guy friends and girl friends that have been ordered to use their birth names and also to send in their government identification’s.
Also, keep in mind those friends of mine that were asked to send in their I.D and to use their birth names all had received quite a few anonymous complaints in short periods of times for bogus crap which was never explained to them. They had received warnings then suspended & finally hit with the request for I.D
I think it’s ridiculous and unfair as FB is targeting the so called “general public” BUT not the rich, influential, celebrities, politicians & corporations are all left alone.
Either way you look at it, it’s still discriminatory!
Also, why would FB under any circumstances need a copy of your government I.D on file? That’s a total invasion of privacy especially when you are not buying a subscription or membership.. The day I am asked to hand in my I.D I walk away from FB.
FB needs to be hit with a class action suit as some people do not use their real names in order to not be found because they were victims of serious crimes, domestic violence, safety reasons, those in law field such as Police Officers, ADA’s etc…
This was on today’s WashingtonPost.com:http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/us-threatened-massive-fine-to-force-yahoo-to-release-data/2014/09/11/38a7f69e-39e8-11e4-9c9f-ebb47272e40e_story.html?hpid=z1
That was a heavy price to have to pay just to protect the privacy of users. I NOW understand why they all caved in.
Facebook needs to stop just pushing changes on its users without any explanation. It’s been done before and caused them trouble but they don’t seem to get that. Because when they implement changes like this finding out the reasons for the change and stuff like that is next to impossible. They have this my way or the hiway approach and it is getting old.
@terencetorres: “I have several straight guy friends and girl friends that have been ordered to use their birth names and also to send in their government identification’s.”
@joesacco1584: “…your profile is supposed to be the legal representation of yourself.”
Uh, since when is Facebook a branch of the government? Since it became part of the NSA, I suppose. But we certainly have no legal obligation to comply with any identity-invasive terms of service of this or any other internet toy.
@joesacco1584: Thak you,well said!! THese drags need to stop playing the victims. Go ahead, get “outraged”. If you do not like it, get out of Facebook, that simple. First the complaint is that they are not a celebrity with a fan page, yet do not want to use their real identity because they will not be recognized. Which is it?? Boo hoo Boo hoo. Tell Fb FckY and close your account. Let’s move on to more important issues.
There’s something called a “Doing Business As” or DBA. Back in the days of printed newspapers you used to see them in the classifieds all the time. Now people usually just put them on their websites. “Let it here be known that Michael Williams will be DBA Sister Roma.” That’s all it takes and then it IS her LEGAL name.
As far as Facebook’s rules, yeah, I guess they can do whatever they want. I have no clue why. The majority of actors and performers of all types use a DBA.
I don’t understand how this is “targeting” drag queens. Please. This policy applies to everyone. When I tried to make an account for my cat, they told me that it sounded like a pet name and to please send my drivers license or make a fan page.
@sugarrrrrrr: Question..if you stopped, why do you care?
@HighStrungLoner: Yeah – I figured giving my cat a human-sounding name might come in handy some day. She fooled Facebook.
After seeing that I was quoted on here, I have created an event page for a Community Wide boycott of Facebook to drive home how we feel about this and hopefully affect their share price in a way that they will listen.
Please join it and share it.
Mr. David James
Does this apply equally to a personal page by Lady Gaga, Pitbull, Eminem and Perez Hilton? Does this apply to freakin’ Pope Francis? Or EVERY nun who might have a FB page? They use “symbolic names”.
Will every Native American with the name “Willie Big Bear” be suspect? What about women who place their maiden name in between their legal married name so that old friends can find them? In fact, why isn’t EVERYONE required to show proof of ID? Just sounding “normal” like ‘Sally Jones’ doesn’t mean that’s her real name. Unless it’s applied across the board they’re just profiling people.
It’s FACE book, so whatever name matches the “face” is what performers try to do. And personally I can attest that stalkers and dangerous types can be avoided this way. The policy is a FAIL if they don’t require proof of ID from EVERY SINGLE Facebook user.
You are also required to use your real picture on FB as well. No puppies, kittens, avatars, etc. Profile pics of men in drag? Banned. I’m sure that will be the next step in this ridiculous campaign.
Facebook is a free service. If you don’t like the terms and conditions, then don’t participate. If you’re a drag persona that is “different” from your every day, “regular” self, then form a fan page.
Get over it. Next.
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