Drag queens and protestors led a chant against Facebook during San Francisco’s Pride Parade to decry the social network’s “authentic name” policy on Sunday.
Marching with the Harvey Milk group, the #MyNameIs campaign handed out buttons and turned their signs to say “Shame on FB” in front of the parade judges.
The protest goes back to the fact that Facebook still requires users to register with “authentic names” and provide identification if asked, or face being locked out of their accounts.
It’s a policy which many claim is discriminatory towards the LGBT community, whose members may go by nicknames or pseudonyms for safety. One former Facebook employee who is transgender, Zip, says her account was recently shut down due to a name conflict and wrote about the issue on Medium.
“Names are a tool for description, a shorthand for quickly communicating the idea of a person or thing,” Zip wrote on Medium. “They change based on context. Each person has many names, because each person has many contexts and social groups. Like the government, Facebook tries to warp all of these contexts into one identifier. And like the government, it demands the final say in what you are called.”
The #MyNameIs campaign first unsuccessfully tried blocking Facebook from the San Francisco Pride Parade, but the board voted 5-4 to let the social network march in June’s event after Mark Zuckerberg personally called organisers.
The drag queens and supporters of the campaign marched in the San Francisco parade ahead of the Facebook group today, handing out fliers and stickers bashing the social network.
Last September, the debate over the real-name policy flared up as drag queens and other LGBT community members were locked out of their accounts after somebody reported hundreds as having “fake names.”
Facebook adjusted the policy to accept many more types of IDs — like bank statements or magazine subscriptions — as long as one of them has a photo or a date of birth that matches the information on the Facebook profile.
“Given the harm that it’s doing to people, we don’t think Facebook deserves to march with our community,” organiser Lil Miss Hot Mess told Business Insider at the time. “It’s nice to see that they want to publicly support the community but if they want to do that, they need to match it with their actions and not just showing up.”