Facebook Tweaking “Real Name” Policy To Make It Easier For Users To Verify That They Are Who They Claim To Be

If you’ve ever tried to insist to Facebook that you really do go by the name Her Magnificence The Empress Of Catland and been frustrated at your efforts, things are about to change: the company announced it’s tweaking its so-called “real name” policy to make it easier for users to verify that they really do answer to a name other than their legal one.

Facebook has long held onto its anti-pseudonym stance, one that it isn’t abandoning altogether. Instead, it’s offering easier recourse for those who lose access to their accounts over their name, allowing users to provide more context about their chosen name. It’ll also require others flagging those profiles for fake names to hand over more information.

“We want to reduce the number of people who are asked to verify their name on Facebook, when they are already using the name people know them by,” wrote Facebook VP of Growth Alex Schultz in a letter the company released today (via Buzzfeed News). “We want to make it easier for people to confirm their name if necessary,” he added.

So if, for example, your legal name is Frances but you’ve always, ALWAYS gone by Baby because you knew someday you’d be meeting a handsome dance instructor and he’d need to tell others not to put you in a corner, you can add those details when Facebook asks you to confirm your authentic self. This was something you couldn’t do before.

“This should help our Community Operations team better understand the situation,” said Schultz. “It will also help us better understand the reasons why people can’t currently confirm their name, informing potential changes we make in the future.”

Anyone who has an issue with your name will also have to fork over more information about why they’re reporting it, in the hopes of tamping down circumstances where someone might use the system as a weapon.

“When people use the name others know them by, they are more accountable for what they say, making it more difficult to hide behind an anonymous name to harass, bully, spam or scam someone else,” he said.

The changes are expected to begin taking effect in December.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.