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Facebook has apologized to drag queens, and gone onto clarify its real name policy after it caused uproar. At the start of the week, hundreds of drag queens found that their profiles on the social media site were deleted because they refused to use their real names. According to the professionals, they believed their privacy was being violated, and argued that using a real name is not safe for all.
Protest rallies were being formed as people decided to fight back at the seemingly draconian policy. All they wanted was to be themselves on Facebook, and that mean using their drag queen personas.
According to the real name policy, personas are not allowed for the personal profiles. These are for personal use only, and should include the personal name that is found on a credit card or driving license. There is an option to add an alternative name.
However, the drag queens wanted to use their stage name as their real name. Their argument is that this is stages names are the ones they are known by, even if they are not on their credit cards. Product chief of the company, Christopher Cox, seems to agree with the drag queens. He clarified Facebook’s real name policy after the uproar, stating that the names would be those that people go by in real life. For the drag queens, that means their stage names.
That has been a welcomed statement for many. Sister Roma, one of the drag queens arranging the protest, is happy with the announcement. She has decided that the protest will now be a victory rally, and encourages people to still attend. Lil Miss Hot Mess, another drag queen, will only be happy when her profile name is changed back to her stage name.
Facebook has focused a lot more on personal, legitimate profiles over recent months. Its advertising counts on that. Its latest advertising is called “people-based,” and will use the real identities for targeted marketing. This type of advertising relies on the personal data shared, and that means real details need to be shared.
However, the social media giant claims that the real identities are required to prevent anonymity on the site. There has been a lot of cyber bullying in the news lately, and it seems it wants to protect its users from that. There are also a number of duplicate accounts created for spam, and the site is working on closing them down to protect the genuine users.
The problem is that this is getting in the way of the right to privacy. Human-right advocates believe that people should have the right to create a profile in the names they choose. This is especially the case when it comes to drag queens and those who need to keep their identity secret for their own safety reasons. Forcing people to put their real names up is just making people turn to different social media platforms, or is putting their lives at risk.
While the social media site has apologized, nothing has really changed. All Facebook did was clarify its real name policy after the uproar, and allowed the drag queens to use their stage names for now.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham