The social media site has backed down over angry responses from the public.
A public outcry has forced Facebook to announce Friday to do some backtracking.
Facebook says it will modify the terms of its “real name” policy, which requires users to use an authentic name rather than a pseudonym, reversing longstanding Facebook policy not to require such authenticity, according to an Engadget report.
But this was met with backlash from members of both the trans and Native American communities, who worry that they could be subject to harassment and that maintaining the option of anonymity was important to make sure all classes of people could be protected and voice their opinions openly.
A number of advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, signed an open letter demanding that Facebook reconsider. “It’s time for Facebook to provide equal treatment and protection for all who use and depend on Facebook as a central platform for online expression and communication,” the letter states.
Facebook has caved to the demands — somewhat. They are making two changes, first allowing users to provide a explanation of sorts for the name they’ve chosen, and second requiring users who flag those who provide false names to provide more information in the complaint, which may help moderators avoid frivolous flaggings while also allowing people to reasonably maintain a level of anonymity.
However, Facebook is still sticking with the policy despite calls from groups to do away with it altogether. The company believes that people who are anonymous get away with saying things they wouldn’t otherwise say, and it may lead to more harassment from people who don’t fear retribution.