The world’s largest social networking site, Facebook, announced on Tuesday that its insistence on people using their real names on the site could see a couple of new tweaks in the coming weeks and months because of long-standing campaigns by minority groups against the policy. However, there are no plans afoot to do away with any of the stringent requirements any time soon, as the company clearly reiterated that its stance on the issue, saying, “We’re firmly committed to this (real-name) policy, and it is not changing”. According to the blog post from Facebook, the site has now begun testing two new changes to its reporting and verification process, which are expected to make it difficult for trolls to target legitimate users, especially those belonging to marginalized communities.
The company’s new policy comes in the wake of transgendered and Native American communities complaining about being unfairly put through scrutiny, all because many of them choose to register on the site using their preferred names rather than their legal and / or given names. As per the post on the company’s official blog by Mr. Justin Osofsky, Vice President of Global Operations, and Mr. Todd Gage, Product Manager at Facebook, the social network says that it’s new changes will help it achieve its twin goals of reducing the number of people who will be asked to verify their name on the site, and also make it easier for users to confirm their names if and when required. The company also says that, “These tools have been built based on many conversations with community leaders and safety organizations around the world”.
The post also mentions that the changes to the company’s name-reporting process will now include several new steps, meaning, someone wanting to report a fake name will have to answer a bunch of questions before the site will even entertain such claims. As for people who’ve been reported, the social network says that it will give those users a chance to explain the circumstances under which they’re using their pseudonyms or nicknames, before escalating the matter any further. The company also informs that in the future, it will look to introduce other checks and balances so as to further reduce the number of people being asked to verify their names. Finally, the social network says that these new tools are being tested on smartphones as well as on desktop, although, for now at least, the testing is restricted to a handful of users based in the US. There’s no word however, on when the features will roll out to all users of the site globally.