Friday, October 10, 2014

Facebook Apology Misses the Point

So, Facebook has taken it upon itself to police identities and decide who is real and who is not allowed to exist. Yes, they only have domain over their social sphere but with Facebook being THE defining social media platform of our era, it's a huge handicap to be excluded from it.

Summary of the worrying news (along with my commentary):

Facebook's Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, defends the name policy that "affected" our LGBT community. Yes, we've been "affected" by their uneven enforcement of the policy that bans names they deem unreal or "not real enough." Facebook chose to support those who report non-gender-conforming accounts, or people who report someone's account as unreal in response to them not liking what their opponent said in an online debate. Meanwhile, plenty of fake-named accounts that look like everyday gender-conforming men and women and don't post controversial topics will never get banned from this policy.

Cox stood by the original "real name" policy — which Facebook says is not synonymous with requiring "legal" names. He said the rule helps Facebook stand out amid all the anonymity online and helps keep users safe from anonymous cyberbullying.

"With this input, we're already underway building better tools for "authenticating" the Sister Romas of the world while not opening up Facebook to bad actors." (Sister Roma is the famous Drag Queen shown above. When her Facebook account was threatened, she got her friend San Francisco City Supervisor David Campos to complain to Facebook, which is probably the only reason Facebook is even pretending to listen to the queer community on this issue.)

You heard it here first, folks. The way Facebook enforces their new name policy is meant to KEEP USERS SAFE FROM BULLYING.

It's not like any of us use aliases to protect ourselves from bullying, right? It's not like any women, transgender people or LGBQ folk have ever been threatened over something we published on the internet. It's especially not like people like Anita Sarkeesian are all over the news for exactly this sort of trouble.

Meanwhile, Ello is gaining 4,000 users per hour...