Surprise! Facebook Still Harassing Drag Queens About Using Their “Birth Names”

Hey! Remember that time last year where everyone was pissed off at Facebook for freezing drag queens and trans* people out of their accounts unless they changed their name to the name on their birth certificate? And then we all briefly switched to Ello, and that was a thing for a few days until Facebook was like “Wait! Come back! That’s totally not our policy at all and it was a mistake and we will restore all the names and make sure this never happens again! Everyone can use whatever names they go by!”

Well guess what? It’s still happening! Apparently, Facebook never changed their policy on names, and assholes can still “report” people for using “fake names.” Hell, they can even report you if you are using your legal name, and have you shut out of your account until you produce an ID of some kind. That is some bullshit.

How do I know this? Well, just yesterday, some ass with a sad and empty life reported my gal pal, Miss Pandora Boxx of RuPaul’s Drag Race and other general awesomeness, to Facebook for not using her given name! And Facebook will not let her change it back, because they still have that dumb policy.

Her response, of course, was a thing of beauty:

Dear Person(s) With Little Excitement in Life,

Congratulations. You won! I’m sure you’re very excited to report my name and have me be locked out of my account. Then to have me forced to use my birth name. I had actually forgotten the name I was born with since everyone on here refers to me as Pandora Boxx. You have really opened my eyes to the fact that I have another name. Thank you for revealing it so I can stop tricking the poor people of the Book of Face.

I can’t think of anything worse things in the world than using a fake name on Facebook. Famine, pollution, disease all pale in comparison to this huge epidemic. You are a true crusader of good. Root out all the evil doers on Facebook who dare not go by their birth name! Sinners!

I’m sure you’ll read this right away since you haven’t left your studio apartment since ’01. So feel proud that you have accomplished at least one useless deed for the week. Make sure to post this good deed to all ten of your online friends who have pictures of teddy bears, rainbows and Trans Ams as their profile picture. I’m sure you’ve already printed out a MS Paint certificate for yourself to hang on your tar stained wall.

Thank you for your service,

Pandora Boxx

That is messed up. It was messed up before and it’s extra messed up now given that Facebook said they would do something about it. Pandora told me that she’s been dealing with this for a while now, which is why she briefly changed her user name to Pandora Olivia Boxx.

After I shared her status yesterday, I found out from other friends that this is hardly an anomaly–Facebook still gives people the option of “reporting” users using “fake names.” People are still using this option to harass trans* people, drag queens, women using fake names to hide from their abusers and other people with good reason not to use their “birth names.”

The fact that this policy even exists in the first place is absurd. Clearly, it does not actually do anything to weed out the catfish–it’s still pretty easy to create a fake account with a normal sounding name and other people’s pictures without anyone bothering you.

For what it’s worth, I’d like to not that I don’t really hear much about Facebook “cracking down” on heterosexual marrieds who share accounts and go by “JohnAndJane Smith” or what have you. I mean, unless they were born as fraternal conjoined twins, which is impossible and even if it were they would not be allowed to get married anywhere, there’s probably not a big chance that that’s their birth name.

Facebook’s “real names” policy has also lead to Native American users being kicked off of the site for using their real names, which also keep getting flagged as fake.

For the life of me, I can’t see why there needs to be an option to report people for not using their birth names, or to require them to use their birth names in the first place. Whose business is that, anyway? Flagging actual fake accounts, or people pretending to be people they are not is one thing, as those can be used to prevent harassment, catfishing or con-artistry. However, I can think of no good reason why anyone should be required to use their “real name” on Facebook so long as they are not bothering anyone or pretending to be someone they aren’t.

Worries about fake profiles could be easily solved by the time-honored internet tradition of posting a picture of oneself with a sign saying some specific thing, rather than requiring users to produce identification. All this policy does is give people with sad empty lives a tool they can use to harass others with. It’s time to get rid of it entirely.