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Facebook Issue Apology to Drag Queens Over ‘Real Name’ Policy
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Summary: Facebook issued an apology to a group of drag queens who were protesting the site’s ‘real name’ policy after a user reported fake accounts.


Drag queens received an apology from Facebook Wednesday after a meeting involving community members and drag queens who protested against Facebook, according to The Guardian. The protests stemmed from being forced to use legal names on Facebook.

Chris Cox, the chief product officer for Facebook, said the following:

“I want to apologise to the affected community of drag queens, drag kings, transgender, and extensive community of our friends, neighbours, and members of the LGBT community for the hardship that we’ve put you through in dealing with your Facebook accounts over the past few weeks.”

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After receiving emails that they must use their ‘real names,’ many drag queens challenged Facebook back in September.

According to Cox, a single Facebook user reported hundreds of accounts as fake. This caused the company to start its weekly fake names report. Cox noted that 99 percent of the accounts are people doing bad things, such as bullying and impersonating others.

Cox said that the policy has not required people to use their legal name on Facebook and that the organization is also trying to come up with ways to authenticate an account when someone does not want to use a legal name.

“The spirit of our policy is that everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life. For Sister Roma, that’s Sister Roma. For Lil Miss Hot Mess, that’s Lil Miss Hot Mess,” said Cox. “Part of what’s been so difficult about this conversation is that we support both of these individuals, and so many others affected by this, completely and utterly in how they use Facebook.”

Cox added that the policy of using a real name is an effort to separate the site from the rest of the internet, where many sites allow anonymity. He also said it is to protect others from abuse and trolls.

In an email to The Guardian, Lil Miss Hot Mess said the following: “It takes a lot to impress a drag queen, but I’m beyond thrilled that Facebook has offered a genuine apology and agreed that our real names are the ones we make for ourselves. This is a huge victory not only for us queens, but also for the countless others we’ve met along the way whose names don’t always match their ID cards, but allow them to express themselves with less fear and more fabulousness.”

A petition that asks Facebook to change its policy has been signed by 31,600 people so far. The petition would allow performers to use their names on personal Facebook accounts.

Image credit: Facebook



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