More than two years ago, legendary drag queen Lady Bunny found herself suddenly required by Facebook to drop both the Lady and the Bunny and pick up her actual male name “Jon Marc Ingle.” She said she didn’t feel targeted and assumes she was just one of the early victims of Facebook’s name cleansing because her stage name stood out as obviously made up. “Lady isn’t really a first name and Bunny isn’t really a last name,” she explained.
Bunny laid out how it went down. “I tried to log on one day and they said there are issues with your account. They said ‘We feel you are using a fictitious name and you need to submit a scan of your ID. Once we verify who you really are you can suggest that we use your stage name. And we’ll see if we accept it.’ Unfortunately they rejected my suggestion to go back to using my stage name. Then they said that you can use your stage name in parentheses but when I selected ‘Lady Bunny’ in parentheses they rejected that.” Facebook also rejected several other versions of Bunny’s stage name until they finally accepted “Ladybunny.” Who knows what algorithm goes into their choice?” she pondered.
Bunny said she tried to fight this name change at first. “I met someone from Facebook and they said that if you are a performer and you can submit to Facebook a contract that has your stage name on it then they will consider saying that this is the main name that this person uses for work and why they’re on Facebook. But then that person stopped working at Facebook.” Once Bunny lost that contact she felt she was fighting a losing battle against Facebook. “Facebook does not make it easy to contact them about any issues whatsoever. The vibe that you get from Facebook is ‘we don’t care.'” she said.
Bunny thinks the Facebook crackdown is an effort to increase targeted advertising. “Facebook may seem like a fun, online town square where we can all share our pictures and fun articles, but nothing is free. They are grabbing a shocking amount of our information. They exist to get your information so that you can be marketed to. They can’t market to a fake person. They can’t market to a stage name. They need to know that Lady Bunny’s real name is Jon Marc Ingle. They need to know what my address is, what my email address is, what my age is. The more data they have the more effectively they can target you.”
Bunny is also realistic about the situation. “It (Facebook) is a free service, so we really can’t tell them what to do.”
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Watch: Lady Bunny’s Tribute to the Passing of Show Biz Legends