Facebook has been under fire recently for requiring people to use their legal names for their Facebook accounts, or risk getting those accounts suspended.
Among those affected by this policy are drag queens, who — along with San Francisco Supervisor David Campos and other LGBT advocates — met with the social network today to discuss the policy.
In a statement following the meeting, Facebook apologized “for the hardship that we’ve put you through in dealing with your Facebook accounts over the past few weeks.”
But Facebook stopped just short of changing the policy, and in fact says that the policy has been misinterpreted:
Our policy has never been to require everyone on Facebook to use their legal name. The spirit of our policy is that everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life.
We believe this is the right policy for Facebook for two reasons.
The policy reads: “The name you use should be your real name as it would be listed on your credit card, driver’s licence or student ID.”
One of the people affected by this policy and who had her account suspended is Sister Roma, a member of an LGBT organisation called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. She wrote in a Facebook post last month after meeting at Facebook’s headquarters, “[Facebook] acknowledged that the current rash of suspended and deleted profiles have been under attack by users of the Facebook community who report the profiles for using ‘fake’ names.”
In order for an account to be flagged as having a fake name, someone has to report it. A person on the anonymous app Secret is taking responsibility for flagging these accounts.
Facebook acknowledges that “there’s lots of room for improvement in the reporting and enforcement mechanisms, tools for understanding who’s real and who’s not, and the customer service for anyone who’s affected.”
You can read the full statement from Facebook below: