Whether you accept that Facebook's "real name" policy is vital to them doing business or not, CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it clear years ago that he has no patience or sympathy for people who have more than one identity. He said in an interview that was published in the 2010 book The Facebook Effect, "You have one identity... Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity."
I was directed to the quote via this four-year-old blog post that made the rounds on Facebook in the wake of this week's drag queen summit at Facebook headquarters over the "real name" policy. Zuckerberg went further to say, ominously, "The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly."
Is there anyone on Facebook anywhere who has not tried to hide certain photos from coworkers or employers, or worried about a drunken status update being seen by their mother? Zuckerberg's logic is, of course, ridiculously short-sighted and anti-intellectual, and if this is the core philosophy behind the "real name" policy it seems like it's only a matter of time before more people revolt and try to get Facebook to do what Google Plus had to do and abandon the policy to appease users. (And maybe Zuck should have taken a humanities course or two before dropping out of Harvard.)
As it stands, Facebook is still refusing to change its policy and the LGBTQ community is getting even louder in its revolt, calling attention to the fact that the policy impacts everyone who has wanted to hide from a stalker, from their families, or wanted to escape an abusive domestic situation while still taking refuge among their Facebook friends.
In the interview below with HuffPo, trans performer Justin Vivian Bond talks about victims of domestic violence and LGBTQ people in foreign countries, both situations where a person's true identity has to remain secret from those around them. And how can Facebook possibly hope to police all those people using fictitious names that don't look especially fictitious?
The press remains fascinated with the drag queen angle, since drag queens notoriously "have big mouths," as Bond puts it and will keep this issue in the news as long as they have to.
Also, porn stars are now getting targeted in the crackdown as well, and gay porn model Samuel Colt predicts "a mass exodus from Facebook" as a result.
We'll see next week if and how Facebook policy-makers respond.