Life

Drag performers dress down Facebook over ‘real names’ policy

San Francisco city supervisor David Campos, right, walks with drag performer Sister Roma to a news conference following a meeting in his office with a number of drag queens at City Hall, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014, in San Francisco, Calif.
San Francisco city supervisor David Campos, right, walks with drag performer Sister Roma to a news conference following a meeting in his office with a number of drag queens at City Hall, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014, in San Francisco, Calif. Eric Risberg, AP

Many in the drag community are professional performers who rely on Facebook to publicize gigs. They said a fan page isn’t the same as a regular Facebook page.

“Your reach is limited, said Rosa Sifuentes, a San Francisco-based burlesque performer who goes by the name Bunny Pistol.

The company’s policy has been around just about as long as Facebook itself.

This isn’t the first time users have criticized Facebook’s policy. Political activists have also complained, especially those living in countries where they could face danger if their real identities are revealed.

In 2011, Chinese blogger and activist Michael Anti, whose legal name is Zhao Jing, had his profile deleted because he was not using his given name – even though his professional identity has been established for more than a decade and is better known.

Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, has “merged” her stage name with her birth name on Facebook in an apparent compromise.

It’s not always easy to determine which names are inauthentic. Some people whose real names sound fake have had their accounts deleted, too.

For Facebook, the real names policy is not just meant to keep people accountable. The company and other website operators argue that requiring people to use true identities can reduce online vitriol and bullying. Real names also help Facebook target advertisements to its 1.32 billion users.

Facebook estimates that 6 to 11 percent of its monthly user accounts were duplicate or fake in 2013.

“We believe the percentage of accounts that are duplicate or false is meaningfully lower in developed markets such as the United States or United Kingdom and higher in developing markets such as India and Turkey,” Facebook wrote in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“However, these estimates are based on an internal review of a limited sample of accounts and we apply significant judgment in making this determination, such as identifying names that appear to be fake or other behavior that appears inauthentic to the reviewers.”

© 2014, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Polis files discharge petition on ENDA with narrowed religious exemption

Previous article

Breitbart columnist asks: Have they cut Chelsea Manning’s penis off yet?

Next article