Facebook has announced that it will do away with its ‘real name’ policy which has caused controversy.
The social network’s VP of growth Alex Schultz, wrote a lengthy post on Scribd explaining the policy and how it will change.
It explains that rather than “real names”, usually meaning legal names as the policy was enforced, people would be required to use “authentic names”, meaning those by which people are known to friends and family.
“We are deeply invested in making [this policy] better,” he wrote.
“I’ve seen first hand how people – including LGBT people – can be bullied online by people using fake or impersonating accounts.”
The changes to the policy will include allowing users to provide details about why they have chosen to use a particular name on their profile.
In addition, those who report people for using a name they believe to be “fake” will be asked to provide additional information.
A German privacy watchdog earlier this year said Facebook is barred from enforcing its controversial real name policy.
An Ethiopian LGBT activist and leader had his account blocked by Facebook for not using his real name.
The social network has come under fire for banning members of the LGBT community from using the site without their real names.
Facebook banned hundreds of drag artists from the website last summer for not using their legal names on their profiles – which was later revealed to be the work of one user submitting a vast number of malicious reports.
The company promised to alter its ‘real name’ policy to allow trans people and drag artists to use their chosen names if they prefer – but no changes were ever made, and people still face bans.
In a cruel ironic twist, a trans woman who used to work for Facebook and helped develop their inclusive gender options was banned from the site for violating the ‘real name’ policy.
Mr Zuckerberg was asked about the policy in a Q&A on the website, and said that trans people should not be banned for not using their legal names.