Watch: Facebook VP apologises to drag queens for ‘real name’ row

Nick Duffy October 8, 2014
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Facebook’s Vice President Josh Blankenship has apologised to drag queens targeted by the social network’s ‘real name’ policy.

Facebook agreed to make changes to the way it works last week, after locking the accounts of a number of drag queens because they weren’t using their “legal names”.

Mr Blankenship appeared in a skit on Ellen to apologise after the incident, saying:  “I’d like to apologise to each and every drag queen we’ve offended by name.”

He read a list of a number of drag queens with innuendo-filled names, including Angela Mansbury, Ivanna Humpalot, Tess Tosterone, Ophelia Bottoms, Ima Tucker and Wilma Fingerdoo.

Facebook’s Chief Product Officer, Chris Cox, previously made a lengthy apology which read: “I want to apologize 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.

“In the two weeks since the real-name policy issues surfaced, we’ve had the chance to hear from many of you in these communities and understand the policy more clearly as you experience it.

“We’ve also come to understand how painful this has been. We owe you a better service and a better experience using Facebook, and we’re going to fix the way this policy gets handled so everyone affected here can go back to using Facebook as you were.

“The way this happened took us off guard. An individual on Facebook decided to report several hundred of these accounts as fake.

“These reports were among the several hundred thousand fake name reports we process every single week, 99 percent of which are bad actors doing bad things: impersonation, bullying, trolling, domestic violence, scams, hate speech, and more — so we didn’t notice the pattern.

“Our policy has never been to require everyone on Facebook to use their legal name. The spirit of our policy is that everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life.”

More: apology, drag queens, Ellen, Employment, Facebook, Gay, policy, real name, skit, US, vice-president

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