Facebook changes 'Real Name' policy rules to Elgg username or screen name after public outcry

By Tom


We saw this coming a few years ago! Now Facebook is catching up with Elgg and other social engines which do not require real names. Remember, when Facebook first started requiring its users to be part of a University in order to sign-up?

Facebook users are not allowed to use custom nicknames! Facebook has always argued that using nicknames has never worked on its systems or applications.

We can understand the "Real Name" policy was invented in order to create a sense of accountability. Whether or not it's been effective is open to debate, but the main reason to start the real Name policy does make sense. Unlike Youtube and Elgg Engine default screen names and usernames; which by the way actually works, Facebook has had strict real name policy for a long time until today. Maybe the real name policy was started in order to market Facebook user's to potential advertisers, investors, or even governments in exchange for money or perhaps to combat; bots, phishers, copy cats users, scammers, and fake profiles, pedophiles, trouble makers, fakes phonies, crazy stalker ex, internet trolls, sneakers, cheaters, bullies, lunatics, and many more weirdos.

The issue of using the real name has been that most users normally tend to be requested to prove their real name on Facebook or Twitter Social networks. However, some Facebook users tend to  flag some "real names" users as fake users.  Then, Facebook will ask the flagged person to prove that their name is real by sending their real identity ID card to Facebook headquarters via fax or email.

We can understand that online sites have a real name policy just like Facebook and Google. However, these same sites do ask their users for their real name even if they have provided a username or even the display alias. In most cases, most users do normally lie or give inaccurate information. Just like Facebook, most of these sites which require real names don't have way of verifying that information given to them is correct.  For most online users, do normally verify their correct age; which is the standard practice where by the age provided is associated with the account, cardholder ID, and a credit card payment for membership.

Even though no one can hid anymore their true online identity, requiring users to use their real names and photos is just another way to put the site administration in a role of the government. However, with the increase of death threats by citizens and even oppressive governments towards the online real names users, genuine users who might wish to share their thoughts online freely without fear of repercussions from the governments or crazy citizens are forced to use other platforms like Elgg engine social software.

As for those who are working for someone or has a part-time or full-time JOB, the bosses from time to time do scare their employees (a person employed for wages or salary ) not to post any feeling or any work related issues on their social media sites or pages. Why? Because online real names can be searched with ease as compared to screen names or usernames!

We all know that using real name is a ticking time fireworks and Facebook real name policy does not make it a safe haven for all either.  Just last week my friend was blocked on Facebook for not using her real name. Today she was unblocked and promised by Facebook that she will be blocked again in one week from today if she does not use her real name.

In this day and age of 'complete transparency, accountability, and sharing everything', using your real name can cause a lot of problems. Some of the problems have been on the national and even international news outlets. Some online users using their real names have posted their sitting or bed room pictures or photos showing a lot of monetary values only to find out that they have been tracked down and targeted by robbers without notice.

Even though this move by Facebook to adopt the Elgg Engine way of life can be welcomed by Facebook uses as great news, there are many challenges a waiting the future uses of Facebook real name policy.

The main question that remains to be answered is; when does freedom of using a "Real Name" verses using a "Display Name" (unique names) become too much freedom?