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Spotlight on: Facebook and Google Crackdown on Using Real Names

Updated on August 12, 2019

By Rachael O'Halloran

Published September 22, 2014

Facebook TOS Requires You To Use Your Real Name

Do you think you should be "forced" to use your real name for a social network account?

See results

Identity Check Time

If you think you should have the right to use an alias instead of your real name ... Facebook won't agree with you, and they're willing to delete your account to prove it.
If you think you should have the right to use an alias instead of your real name ... Facebook won't agree with you, and they're willing to delete your account to prove it. | Source

Enforcing Terms of Service (TOS)

For Google, it was always a recommendation.

For Facebook, it has always been a rule, clearly written in their TOS, that you are required to use your real name. However, neither social site has ever asked for proof, and it was rarely, if ever, enforced.

Huffington Post reports that people using real names helps Facebook to target advertisements to over 1.32 billion users, but Facebook claims the real name requirement is mostly to reduce bullying and criticisms. (I don't know how they arrive at that conclusion!)

On Wednesday, September 10, 2014, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder, made an announcement that Facebook will now be enforcing their long-standing policy.

"All users must use their legal names (the one that's on a driver's license or credit card)," or Facebook will start suspending accounts until the change is made.

Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook already began notifying those accounts which they felt were in violation of their policy (i.e. fake names and names with "titles.")

In February 2014, Facebook added over 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender (examples: transwoman, non-binary, intersex) including a choice of him, her or them.

Facebook said that gender has always been private and is expected to remain so.

Name and profile picture have always been public and are expected to remain so.

The requirement of "real names" is at the heart of this article.

Google's Stand As Of July 2014

Google has reversed their "real name" policy as of July 16, 2014, and no longer requires legal or real names on Google accounts.

Google's Official Statement:

"We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today's change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be."

Facebook: Use Your Real Name - Or Else!

By selecting account names using titles like Father, Brother, Sister, Doctor, Yitz, Mister, Mistress and others, Mark Zuckerberg's team contacted a large number of people using religious titles and specific adult performers in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

They were told to start using their real names on Facebook or else have their accounts disabled.

The Notice A User Receives From Facebook

This is the screen users get when they try to sign on with what Facebook deems to be a fake name.
This is the screen users get when they try to sign on with what Facebook deems to be a fake name. | Source

Facebook's official statement

"We require everyone to provide their real names, so you always know who you're connecting with. This helps keep our community safe."

The "Sister" Title

Among those targeted was "Sister Roma," a Facebook user since 2009 and a member of the LGBT community.

Facebook at first said they were citing her for using the title "Sister" because they didn't allow titles.

Soon afterward, Facebook informed her that she was in violation of their TOS for not using her birth name of "Michael Williams," a name she hasn't used in over 27 years. They gave her the company line that if she didn't comply by using her real name, they'd disable her Facebook account.

When Sister Roma refused, Facebook followed through and suspended her account.

Disabling, shutting down, deleting, suspension - the words all mean the same thing.

The account is gone and so is anything associated with the account - photo albums, all comments and interactions with other users, any Facebook groups they created and any stand alone Facebook Pages they own.

Sister Roma's interactions with her family, her friends, and her photos all disappeared with her account suspension. And so did her Facebook Page (also called a Fan Page) where she is listed as a Public Figure and has a following of almost 10,000.

Since she has 5,000 friends on her regular Facebook account and many photo albums on both her Facebook account and Fan Page, including prized photos with Cyndi Lauper and other celebrities, she didn't want to lose it all.

But when Facebook shut her down, it was all gone, as if they never existed.

Facebook Name Rules (click to enlarge)

Most of us weren't born with one, but Facebook objects to 'titles' as part of a real name. I wonder if Prince William or Prince Harry have their own Facebook accounts ....
Most of us weren't born with one, but Facebook objects to 'titles' as part of a real name. I wonder if Prince William or Prince Harry have their own Facebook accounts .... | Source

Public User Settings

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, said in 2010 that if he were to create Facebook over again, all user information would be permanently set to public and the user would have no option to change it.

He seems to have thrown user privacy out the window when Facebook offered stock options in 2009.

He forgets that when people joined Facebook, they really liked the idea that they had control of their privacy settings to determine what part of, and to whom their personal information was accessible.

Your user name and your profile picture have always been public, so if Facebook requires you use your real name, where is the privacy in that?

Sister and Brother Titles

It's not so much the LGBT community that Facebook is targeting but rather their use of non-legal names and the title "Sister." (Example: Sister Mary Francis, Sister Roma)

Since I don't have a Facebook account, I had to ask my son to do a search for me.

The list returned over 500 Catholic nuns, over 60 missionaries of various religious affiliations, 31 authors of theological works, and 312 accounts with connections to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The use of the title "Sister" is widespread. So I asked him to search for "Brother." (Example: Brother Charles as a religious salutation)

Facebook is going to be pretty busy tracking down all these TOS violators.

So Who Is Sister Roma?

Sister Roma is a community activist and member of San Francisco LGBT community, a fundraiser, a volunteer for STOP AIDS Project and other organizations, an Ordained Minister, one half of The Tim & Roma Show, a columnist/contributor to Gloss Magazine, guest star of local radio and television talk shows and on CNN, FOX's Bill O'Reilly and BRAVO's Kathy Griffin "My Life On The D-List," an Art Director for an adult video site, and a cat owner/lover.

Her Facebook Fan Page proclaims her to be The Most Photographed Nun In The World as a member of The Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence.

Many view her as an adult performer and a drag queen.

Facebook sees her using the title "Sister" and wants it gone from her account because it is not her real name.

She rallied her friends, and they contacted their friends. She has just the right number of friends in just the right places to bring this issue to national attention. Soon they had a lot of outraged drag queens who decided to meet with Facebook to plead their case.

On September 12, 2014, David Campos, a member of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors along with members of several San Francisco's LGBT communities had a meeting with Facebook's Public Relations and "Pride" teams.

However, Sister Roma and friends learned that these teams were in no position to make decisions, so the outcome of the meeting brought no satisfaction. Facebook policy remains unchanged as of this writing.

The community regrouped and decided to approach this with a petition.

An online petition on which demanded that Facebook change its policy, had 25,000 signatures within 24 hours.

Facebook noticed.

On September 13, 2014, Facebook decided to temporarily restore hundreds of deleted accounts of LGBT members affected by the name change policy, but only for two weeks. If they didn't change their name to their real name or convert over to a Fan Page, Facebook said they would permanently delete their accounts.

Sister Roma already had a Facebook Fan Page listing her as a Public Figure under her Sister Roma name. She just wanted her regular Facebook account back with its 5,000 friends and all her photo albums.

And she wanted to continue using the name she's been using for 27 years, the name she is known by in many circles, the name that is not her legal name, but her chosen name.

Sister Roma and other activists say that Facebook doesn't realize that many of their users who use aliases, screen names and other non-legal names are doing so not only to protect their privacy, but also because some are escaping from abuse of some kind. In some LGBT cases, some are not totally migrated into the gay world, and use Facebook as a way to socialize with members of their social circles.

UPDATE: September 14, 2014 - The regular Facebook account of Sister Roma, using her real name Michael Williams, was reinstated. But she said any conversations on her account discussing Facebook's "real names" policy have all been marked as spam or abusive, even after she complied with Facebook's demand to put her real name on her account. She responded to a message from another Sister only to find previous messages were deleted.

Her Facebook Fan Page was also "reactivated" when her regular account was reinstated so that she was able to recover her photos and reconnect with friends and fans.

It wasn't only members of the LGBT community with titles in their names that came under Facebook's gun.

Facebook also targeted other people of faith with first or last names that could be considered a "title."

Facebook Allows Five Name Changes

For anyone who has a Facebook account, you probably know they allow each user up to five name changes per account.

I guess it is mostly to take into consideration if you get re-married, divorced, return to a maiden name, or have your name changed legally due to adoption, becoming a nun, or a missionary.

I wonder if undergoing gender reassignment is covered under that ....

In any event, they allow that many name changes, for whatever reasons.

How many times have you seen people use names for a particular game they play? Bill Slotomania Smith, KimCaesarBergen, MyFacebookGameName (yes, I've seen it!), and LynnsGameAccount.

For each change, is Facebook going to require proof of their identity before approving their name revision?

The Case of Yitz Jordan

I came across Yitz Jordan's run-in with Facebook when I was looking for the Pros and Cons about using real names on the internet. His plight touched me so much that I wanted to let you know about it.

Now, I don't have as much biographical data about Yitz Jordan as did about Sister Roma, but that doesn't make his case any less important.

According to his post, Facebook told him that their “systems indicated that his account may not be authentic based on a variety of factors” and he was blocked from Facebook on Aug. 26, 2014. One of those factors was his first name.

In order to get use of his account back, he had to verify his identity by submitting a government ID with photo on it.

"Yitz" is a Hebrew name he began using after he converted to Judaism about 15 years ago, so it is not his birth or legal name. However, it is a popular name on Facebook and if Facebook continues their real name enforcement, they will be real busy going after the people with that name to challenge their identity, citing their use of a name as a TOS violation.

Yitz wrote: "After changing the name on my profile to match the name on my ID, a representative for Facebook twice referred me to the name policy about “titles of any kind,” implying that “Yitz”—my Hebrew name, which I have used since conversion to Judaism nearly 15 years ago—was a “religious title.” After sending in two additional pieces of supplementary ID reflecting my name (the one on my ID), I was warned that Facebook’s Support Center would simply 'not respond' to me any longer."

Facebook Support told him that his account was not permitted any more appeals and sent him the following notice:

Please click to enlarge


Yitz Jordan's Statement

"To clarify, my profile was re-enabled with my birth name after sending Facebook my personal identification information. However, given that I have used my Hebrew name for over a decade, I could no longer interact on Facebook with a community who didn’t recognize me. I took down my profile photo as a result."

Posted on


Does it seem fair to you that Facebook is questioning the identity of people with "titles" to show proof, change to their real name or open a Fan Page?

See results

Professional Actors And Actresses Who Do Not Use Their Real Names

Martin Sheen - real name Ramon Antonio Gerard Estevez

Charlie Sheen - real name Carlos Irwin Estevez

Michael Caine - real name Maurice Joseph Micklewhite

Tom Cruise - real name Thomas Mapother

Steven Tyler - real name Steven Tallarico

Sophia Loren - real name Sofia Villani Scicolone

Ben Kingsley - real name Krishna Pandit Bhanji

Woody Allen - real name Allen Stewart Konigsberg

Meg Ryan - real name Margaret Mary Hyra

Joan Crawford - real name Lucille Fay LeSueur

Mel Brooks - real name Melvin Kaminsky

Tea Leoni - real name Elizabeth Tea Pantaleoni

Barry Manilow - real name Barry Alan Pincus

Vin Diesel - real name Mark Sinclair Vincent

Alice Cooper (male) - real name Vincent Damon Furnier

Tim Allen - real name Timothy Alan Dick

Eric Bana - real name Eric Banadinovich

Nicholas Cage - real name Nicolas Kim Coppola

Carmen Electra - real name Tara Leigh Patrick

Jamie Foxx - real name Eric Bishop

Miley Cyrus - real name Destiny Hope Cyrus

Whoopi Goldberg - real name Caryn Johnson

Just saying ....


After reading a lot of news articles and a few user experiences on this subject, Facebook's claim that using real names will reduce bullying and keep the community safe doesn't even compute for me.

What is Facebook going to do? "Card" everyone at the door for proof of identity like your first club did when you turned 21?

Facebook talks about keeping the community safe but seems to have no regard for the safety of some of its users who must hide their identities behind screen names and fake names because they are victims of abuse, stalking, harassed by vindictive family members, and other personal reasons.

Facebook would do well to instead target all of the obvious fake names of Facebook gamers who make up a large part of Facebook's 1.32 billion active monthly users.

If you want to use an alias, or screen name, Facebook has this answer:

Anyone with an alias or a name that is not their legal name is advised to create a Facebook Fan Page to replace their regular Facebook account.

Regular Facebook Accounts vs Facebook Pages

Facebook Pages are typically for those who have a business, are performers or have a large Fan base, have friends lists over Facebook's 5,000 limitation, or want to promote a certain activity or event (ex: inspirational quotes, charity events, fundraisers or book promotions).

Regular Facebook accounts are for regular people who typically don't have in excess of 5,000 friends and who do not use it to promote a business or event.

The interaction and the privacy settings of a Facebook Fan Page are very different in setup.

With Facebook Fan Pages, you can't assign privacy settings of particular posts to certain people because there are no privacy settings and no friends list. Your "friends" are the followers who click "Like."

Likes are garnered by promotion either by paying to advertise your page with Facebook ads -- or by word of mouth. Ads cost a minimum of $50 for Facebook to place ads in the sidebars of regular user accounts to specific audiences (per the category of your Fan Page) as set by their user preferences. The higher your investment, the more audience Facebook claims to reach with email blasts and the number of ads placed per day.

To require anyone with a screen name to open a Facebook Fan Page just because they refuse to comply with their name change requirement seems ridiculous.

For people who are

  • estranged from family members
  • abused by former partners or family members,
  • like Yitz Jordan who take on a Hebrew name when converting to Judaism
  • part of the LGBT community

These are not people who have a fan base or are running businesses like many other owners of Facebook Pages.

These are people who only want to be on a social media site to interact with members on their friends' lists, with people of their faith, to belong to Facebook groups, and to share their upcoming social and charitable activities.

That's pretty much the same thing many other Facebook users do on their regular Facebook accounts.

Facebook Policy

Whether one is an abused wife, a transgender, a former convict or living in a government Witness Protection Program - "there are a million different kinds of people in the world who can give you a million different reasons for using a fake name." Paraphrased from Sister Roma

I hope Facebook's policy doesn't get one or more of them killed.

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Rachael O'Halloran


Submit a Comment
  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    6 years ago from United States

    Glenn Stok,

    Facebook only invokes their rules when it is convenient for them. It is a user friendly site but only when the user is acting in their best interests and minds their P's and Q's.

    I will never return to Facebook, under any name or any email. Not only that, but I don't have time!

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 

    6 years ago from Long Island, NY

    Wow Rachael! You sure had your problems with Facebook. They booted you because you couldn't prove your identity. I had the opposite problem. I joined Facebook years ago and tried to cancel my account when unknown people started spamming me. Facebook wouldn't let me cancel as the terms of service at the time indicated that once we open an account Facebook owns your image and your content. I guess that changed since then.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    6 years ago from United States

    Glenn Stok,

    I'm glad to read that I did the Tsu signup right! It would be a hell of a thing to sign up and have no family. lol

    I only spent about 2 hours there yesterday, but I grasped the general idea and after watching some videos, I think I'll be ok there.

    I had several issues with Facebook when I was there over a year ago. I allowed a lot of the FB games to monopolized my time - I had no will power to stop playing them, nor did I want to give up such great balances of over $100 million in DoubleDown, Slotomania and Caesar's Casino. I had over 4000 friends - most were gamers so the games created a big distraction from me working on my blogs and my writing.

    Then the crap hit the fan one day when FB wanted me to change my name to my real name. I had enjoyed several years of anonymity using the name Slotmania Queen 1. So changing my name went against the grain, and proving my identity was an issue with FB because the only choice they gave me was using their facial recognition program. There were 2 other choices but they wouldn't let me use them. When I couldn't identify faces and match them to names, they booted me.

    Of my 4,000 friends, of course they picked the least interactive people on that list. For a series of 5 times, they show you 5 pictures that belong to one person's photo album. You have to say whom of your 4,000 friends they belong to. I do not spend my days looking at people's photos, so naturally I did not pass the test.

    Then when they wanted a government ID with "Slotomania Queen 1" on it. Well, of course there's no ID with that name. They wanted to call me on the phone and when I said sure! But they had to use TDD or CapTel to do it. So they said I was trying to find a way around their requirement. I told them I am deaf, I can only communicate via email, or using hearing impaired equipment. The end result - FB cut me off for not being able to prove my identity.

    So screw them. Their site sucked the time out of my life anyway and I have become a more productive person since leaving. At least I think so. lol

    Thanks for your help and encouragement. I will keep in touch.

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 

    6 years ago from Long Island, NY

    Hi Rachael, I just noticed I had another child on Tsū and it was you! Thanks for joining. You'll see a bunch of other Hubbers there.

    And yes, their TOS allows you to post links to your hubs or any article you write elsewhere. You just can't duplicate the same content, but that's just about true anywhere.

    Keeping with the theme of this Hub, you'll notice that some people on Tsū do not use their real names, but rather some other form of identity. Unlike Facebook, this is acceptable on Tsū. However, celebrities are confirmed and you'll see a checkmark next to their name to verify they are who they say they are.

    Let me know if you have any questions about getting around Tsū. You can send direct messages to people via their profile message option.


  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    6 years ago from United States

    firstday, Today I joined TSU via Glenn Stok's link and I'm still getting used to it. I didn't know if I could post links to hubs or what. So I'll figure it out, lol

    Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • firstday profile image

    Rebecca Be 

    6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

    I am going to post this on TSU today…I posted someone's on Christmas recently and forgot to let them know. If you do make it over to TSU I am @Rebeccabe. I have never been a member of Facebook and with all that is going on there don't think I want to be. thanks for the great article Rachael. :)

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    6 years ago from United States

    GlennStok, TY I will keep it in mind. If you could see my HP Dashboard with unfinished articles (up to 60 plus now), you'd know why I stay away from social media sites like FB and others that are time suckers for me. lol I've been away and now that I'm back I start and stop, get bored, find something more interesting to write about, etc. You name it and I find another reason to start a new hub. lol TY again.

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 

    6 years ago from Long Island, NY

    Rachael - Thanks for your reply. I can understand your point about remaining productive on HP. I spend more time here, myself, than on other sites. But I find Tsū is useful for posting links to our hubs, and they allow that. It's like tweeting, only not limited with how much you want to say. It's just another way of attracting new readers. The trick is not to fill up with useless followers who never read and just want followers in return. Stay away from them if you do decide to join Tsū.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    6 years ago from United States

    Thank you to all for your comments. I was away for nearly two months and had my comments on auto publish so they were not acknowledged when they were posted. Some of the comments that were submitted in the last week are just now showing up on my notifications. So I am trying to get to everyone ASAP.

    I agree with most of you about keeping your anonymity. As a victim of a crime, I do not agree with FB decision and at present, do not have a FB account since I am content enough with Google and email communications. When I was on FB up to 2013, I found it kept me from being productive elsewhere because there were too many games and FB support groups to entice one to stay on the site as long as possible. Willpower is not my strong suit. lol

    GlennStok, I read your article about Tsu with interest. My readership is not high in numbers but your mention here may bring others to read it. I don't know if it is the right venue for me since I hang out here more than anywhere else,want to remain productive to the site that I have a vested interest in collecting monthly $$$ soon and find the HP platform suits my needs. But when I am ready to interact more, Tsu will get a good lookover by me - using your link, of course to access.

    FBvsAbuseSurvivor - I too have been a victim of several crimes by the same person, who I equate as a stalker, since that is his M.O. He has been jailed and released more times than I can count. I do have physical protection but online I have to maintain a certain anonymity so the two different life paths do not cross.

    For most people, the luxury with a site like FB is that you can always make a new email and make a new account. It is not a benefit I wish to use but for others who enjoy FB, it is a good idea for them. The crackdown is going to take a long time to enforce and see changes. For FB to track down all those gamers and people who use their pet names to get rid of their accounts will take a much bigger staff than they have now. Rachael O'Halloran is not my complete real name - it is the name I use on HP. I self publish under the name Rachael O'Hara, which some people already know. My married name is not shared - it stays within my circle -it is not for social media. But I am known in most places as Rachael O'Halloran. I have several credit cards and one acceptable form of government ID with that name which is usually good in most places, except FB who won't take it because there is not hologram on the photo. They want a passport or a driver's license of which I have neither. To get a passport sends up a red flag to my stalker as to my identity and location, and I have no need for a passport at this time.

    I am sorry for anyone who has to be victimized twice - once in life and once by social media like FB. But there are more venues than FB and sooner or later FB will learn that they are not the only game in town. They are the biggest,but not the only ones.

    Thank you to all for commenting.

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 

    6 years ago from Long Island, NY

    Of course any online activity is a security risk. If one doesn't want to have their personal information known to others, then they shouldn't have an online account on social media at all. As for Facebook's latest decisions on requiring real names, users do have an alternative platform, they can use Tsū instead. Many Facebook users are moving over to Tsū because it is less restricting.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    I am a victim of a Stalking Abuser. ​I use an alias for safety. Now Facebook wants to compromise my life by revealing my real name so I can be tracked down. My account is frozen until I comply. I am now cut off and isolated from the few friends, family and support groups who used only my alias. So I am being punished, abused and re-victimized by FB for daring to protect myself.

  • Marion Reads profile image

    Marion Reads 

    7 years ago from Canada

    Seems to me that people can just choose to not be on facebook. I don't see what the big deal is in uploading 100s or thousands of personal pictures there or in having 1000s of friends. It seems kind of boring to me. There are more important things to do in life than spend hours on facebook.

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 

    7 years ago from England

    Hi, I read every word in amazement! how stupid can they get? everything you said I agree with, and as for those celebs, well, says it all doesn't it? one rule for us, one rule for them! well my names not real, well it is, but its my nickname, nell, or mel, short for melanie, hope that works, if not I would change it. but as you said, how the heck are people supposed to know who you are? I find it hard to chat sometimes on there because I have to figure out who I am talking to from say hubpages, so can you imagine everyone else having to do it? great hub, interesting stuff, made me mad! lol! nell

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 

    7 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

    Several of my Facebook friends have accounts for their pets in which they are vocal on a variety of topics and the pictures draw lots of interest. I wonder if they will be required to provide valid Government ID. It seems interesting to me that there is opposition to showing valid Identification in order to vote, but that we need to provide proof of identity to post on a social network. What a world.

  • Emilia Riera profile image

    Emilia Riera 

    7 years ago from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Many professionals use a pseudonym to prevent clients from interacting with their personal lives. Counselors and therapists, teachers and police officers. No subterfuge is intended - it is to protect the account holder's privacy as well as that of their family. And in the case of law enforcement personnel - it is to protect the lives of themselves and their loved ones.

  • Lionrhod profile image


    7 years ago from Orlando, FL

    Wow. Great article. I don't use FB much anymore because I find it a giant waste of time. About the only time I find it useful is when I need to instant message some of my family and friends who no longer use AOL Instant Messenger.

    My FB account is in one of my pen names. As a witch living in the Bible Belt I feel it is both unwise and potentially unsafe for either stalkers or potential employers to be able to look me up on FB.

    It's also about the only place I don't use THIS screenname.

    However...define "real" name. Following centuries old magickal and Native American practices, I took on Lionrhod as my public real name when I was dedicated. (In my trad we may also have a secret real name, only disclosed to a select few.)

    At this point, the only people who know me by my birth name is my birth family -Even my husband calls me Lion.

    Have I registered it with the government? Absolutely not. I have no desire or feeling of obligation to help Big Brother out. And I'm pretty sure they know anyway, but I'm certainly not going to make it easy on them.

    As for FB, since the beginning of biometrics, facial recognition and "tagging" I have asked my friends and family to not ever post photos of me or tag them with my name. Super sensitive? Maybe.

    If this move causes FB to fall into the gutters of internet history, I'm one person who won't complain.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I rarely use Facebook, I do use my real name. I have had relatives and friends though who were in very tough situations with abuse, and they liked to be able to talk to me as well as other relatives on Facebook with a pseudonym. I guess they are S.O.L.

    They felt safe not using the real name. They don't like talking on the phone, or via email, this is one option they won't have I guess.

  • Paula Atwell profile image

    Paula Atwell 

    7 years ago from Cleveland, OH

    I have just finished reading your article here, and I am appalled by Mark Zuckerberg's decision to force people to put up their real names. There are so many legitimate reasons people do not want to put real names down (and real is used with sarcasm here) because like the examples you mention, they don't use them or they would be in physical danger if they did. There are countless examples of stalkers, pedophiles, and abusers using the Internet to find victims. Zuckerberg is either heartless or ignorant if he doesn't understand this situation. This policy will end up decimating Facebook, and potentially get some people killed.

  • AudreyHowitt profile image

    Audrey Howitt 

    7 years ago from California

    Well researched hub! We will see how all this unfolds I suppose!

  • CassandraCae profile image

    Elizabeth Lynn Westbay 

    7 years ago from United States

    Google + for the win. I only keep Facebook for friends and family. Google+ is where it's at

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 

    7 years ago from USA

    I have never liked FB and am only on it, marginally, now because I want to promote some of my hubs. Since this is not working too well, I think I will just go ahead and drop it as I did once before. They don't make doing this easy, but it can be done. I'm really glad you posted this. Thanks.

  • Carol Houle profile image

    Carol Houle 

    7 years ago from Montreal

    It will be an uphill battle, if it is at all possible to enforce. Good job keeping us posted.

  • JMGadoury profile image

    J M Gadoury 

    7 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

    This topic is fascinating to me from the standpoint of the always evolving online culture. I am very conflicted personally about anonymous versus transparent. My instinct is to desire my online community to be as arms-length and visible as I am in my neighborhood and voting precinct. But I also value maximum voluntary participation, which is legitimately jeopardized by abusers, thieves and the like. Philosophically, I see inherent conflict between a world of egoists versus a world of altruists. Altruistically, I want people to be transparent so they will self-check their behavior and contribute to the greater community. Our culture seems bent on egoism, self-promotion, and throwing verbal haymakers from behind a facade. From that perspective, I feel like the policy pursued by FB lifts the facade. But I seriously value privacy, personal responsibility for self-protection, and the freedom pick and choose who becomes empowered to use your viewpoints against you (ie, governments, employers, family, etc). I don't know the answer. I am leaning toward advocating for transparency, and certainly private media companies' right to control their product. Ideally, if transparency wins the day, I would also strongly advocate for community policing of abusers and power brokers. (Ironically I just now saw a tv ad for the CBS series Stalkers - wow). Anyway, I may be swimming upstream on this one, but I believe we are literally designing the fabric of our modern society. Hubs like this one are helping ensure we design it correctly. I voted up, interesting, and useful.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image


    7 years ago from USA

    This as well as a lot of previous FB decisions makes me question whether their decisions are made in a vacuum and what the diversity in their organization is. It sounds very shortsighted and top-down. That's why I no longer have time for FB. Not in love with it.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    7 years ago from United States

    teaches12345 and vkwok, thank you for voting and reading.

  • vkwok profile image

    Victor W. Kwok 

    7 years ago from Hawaii

    Rachael, you bring up an interesting issue with a lot of good points. Thumbs up!

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 

    7 years ago

    Thomas Mapother? Yes, Cruise sounds better! Anyway, this is another great post on useful and valuable information. I am not sure about the security of using real names -- the jury is out on that one.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    7 years ago from United States

    DzyMsLizzy - thank you for your postscript.

    MsDora, thank you for supporting my work and for voicing your views.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    7 years ago from The Caribbean

    Thanks for another great presentation on a current matter that affects us all. I really appreciate your work. It is unfortunate when innocent do-gooders get picked on unnecessarily. Facebook claims to be doing the community a good service; while we know their real interest in real names and actual profiles. Perhaps, they're making way for a similar service with no hidden intent.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    P.S. The argument about "advertisers need/want to know to whom they are pitching their products" is specious at best, and a poor excuse to boot.

    Online advertising does not work that way. It is 'targeted' based upon software that follows the sites people visit, and makes assumptions about their likes and dislikes on that basis.

    It is about as "personally targeted" as ads in TV or print media, in which the advertisers make similar assumptions based upon which demographic they believe watches which shows or buys certain magazines or newspapers.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    7 years ago from United States

    Hezekiah, CassandraCae, junecampbell and Robert the Bruce -This is an important topic for many who have the need to use a screen name or any other name for personal, safety or religious reasons. It will continue to be volatile subject until Facebook decides to abandon this idiocy the same way Google did. Thank you for contributing to the conversation.

  • junecampbell profile image

    June Campbell 

    7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

    This is news to me . I was not aware that FB Was doing this. Sounds like it will be impossible to enforce with consistency.

  • CassandraCae profile image

    Elizabeth Lynn Westbay 

    7 years ago from United States

    They have been deleting false accounts for a while now. This isn't new, but it all comes down to shareholders. Advertisers want to now they are targeting real people. It's stupid.

  • Hezekiah profile image


    7 years ago from Japan

    I know a lot of people who don't use their real name. Basically you are harder to find if people don't know your real name.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    7 years ago from United States

    firstday, thank you for your comment.

  • firstday profile image

    Rebecca Be 

    7 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

    I really enjoyed this hub. I am not interested in FB, however, I really enjoy google plus which a started a few months ago. I believe people have a right to their privacy especially since you do not know who you are interacting with on forums.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    7 years ago from United States

    DzyMsLizzy, 1.32 billion accounts, they estimate that at least one third are fake. FB is going to be busy for a while targeting fake names. But not all are gamers or cat people. Some need to keep their name private so their abuser won't find them, or to keep away from family members, or even because they have a pseudonym to write blogs or such. A victim will be found again, all because Facebook required a real name on their account. The policy is going to get someone killed. Thank you for voting and sharing, and for your views.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    What a crock of steaming BS that is from Face Crooks! I even know one person on there using an alias for exactly that reason--needs to 'not be found' by abusive family members.

    I believe I've also read that FB is an "open book" to government agencies; an open invitation to the world of "Big Brother." It makes me sick. How is it any skin off the proverbial and collective nose of FB and Mr. Mark F**erberg, if people use their real names or an alias? There are a LOT of folks in the various cat communities, for example, who use a persona of their pet's name.. it's all in fun, and no harm is done.

    I really don't see how FB has time to police the entire membership! It must only happen if someone 'rats them out."

    Voted up, interesting and useful, but sad there are no buttons for "annoying" or "maddening."

    Shared on HP.

    Gee--I'd better not share this to FB, or we'll both get our accounts suspended!! :-(

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    7 years ago from United States

    brakel2, not too many people are aware of what is going on with Facebook's enforcement of real name policy, so thank you for sharing this important article.

  • brakel2 profile image

    Audrey Selig 

    7 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    Hi Rachael Great article. Facebook has so many ridiculous rules, and I am glad you found these stories. People on sites have problems with stolen identity and other offenses, so I can understand not using a real name. Facebook needs to get with the program. It is nice to have a site to connect with old friends and family. There are good and bad points. Sharing, Blessings, Audrey

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    7 years ago from United States

    MPG Narratives, You are correct in your career thinking. Facebook is social, not professional and never will be professional. I hope you find the right venue so you can promote your work. Thank you for commenting with your views.

  • MPG Narratives profile image

    Maria Giunta 

    7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    It's interesting how things have developed over the years since the internet started, the rules keep changing and evolving. As writers we have professional titles as well as personal ones so for us we can use both or just one and its up to us, NOT up to any social site to tell us what to do. I've never really been a fan of Facebook and do have a small private account with them but professionally I don't think Facebook does much for my writing. I've been thinking about setting up another account to promote my writing but having read this I think I will rethink which social site I will do that with. Thanks for the heads up, very valuable information.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    7 years ago from United States

    bravewarrior, thank you for commenting with your views.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 

    7 years ago from Central Florida

    Shoot, the more I learn the more fearful I am of my online presence. It's recommended to have a strong one if you're a writer, but everything I learn scares the crap out of me. Thankfully, I only post what I'm comfortable sharing.

    I recently went thru my Twitter followers and deleted those who I don't feel coincide with who I am. Not following them back is apparently not enough. Questionable mores need not be associated with any of my profiles.

    As far as the groups/people you cite in this article, I have this to say: don't make yourselves public if you're not willing to show your face and display your real name. That tells me you have something to hide. If you need to hide, do so. Don't put yourselves on pubic display and have your intimate information splayed all over the world via the Internet. Go back to your smoke rooms. Start an underground newspaper.

    The Internet is today's way of communicating, but it seems the more I learn I'd be better off digging a hole for myself in my backyard.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    7 years ago from United States

    #Homeplace Series

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    7 years ago from United States


    I used to see the same thing on FB...why people tell where they are going on a trip, how long and even put up pictures of the vacation naming the people in the pix. They even put up pix of their house when getting work done on it showing address, they list their high school, and some even put their phone number and emails on profiles.

    What is wrong with these people???? lol

    Facebook is getting too big for their britches and I would like nothing better than to see them get dropped down a peg or two with this issue. A social network shouldn't have this much pull to be able to require users to comply with a legal name.

    They said they want people to know who they are connecting with. I can write any name I want that looks like a female name -- Cathy Johnson, Karen White, Mary Smith - and they will never know it is not my name to be able to accuse me of a false name. It is the odd names they are going after and they started by targeting faith based and LGBT community. This whole witch hunt is bogus and they know it.

    I hope it gets to court. I hope they lose. I hope they get hit hard in the wallet and soon so this nonsense goes away.

    Victims of crimes can't afford to be targeted. They should all close their accounts and find some other way to connect with people of their social circles. A blog with ongoing comments would be better than the dictatorship that Facebook has become.

    I am well rid of it - over 2 years now and I don't miss it one bit.

    Thanks for commenting and sharing. I appreciate your support.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    7 years ago from United States


    You know I'm all over the privacy issue in my writings -- I value my privacy and many other people do too. Once you have been the victim of a crime, your privacy becomes one of the most important things in your life. It is in mine and I'm careful with it.

    As you know, I enjoy promoting awareness and I enjoy advocating for underdogs, but most of all I enjoy seeing the bad guys get their hands smacked.

    Hard. lol

    I'm waiting to see how this plays out. Of course I'm hoping that the underdog wins - not just for themselves but in the end, for us all.

    Big companies shouldn't have the right to "require" us to supply photo ID with a legal name for something as frivolous as a social network that is a novelty. They don't pay us a salary where they need our name to put on a check.

    They already know too much about our demographics ....we need to be able to keep some part of our privacy to ourselves and that should begin with whatever name we want to call ourselves.

    Thanks for reading, commenting and for your support.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    7 years ago from United States


    Unfortunately for many people, Facebook is the only thing in their lives where they have and remain connected to people -some they've never even met. There's not another social media platform remotely close to FB- and FB knows it.

    People would do well to start copying their photos and other things of importance before FB targets them - if they are not using their real name.

    We as writers know to always keep a backup copy. Facebook-ers are going to have to learn to do it too. Thanks for sharing and voting.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    7 years ago from United States

    #Jackie Lynnley wrote I bet they cannot really make you give your real name; how are they going to prove it?

    Facebook is requiring a government-issued photo ID - like a driver's license or else a credit card with the name on it that you want to use on the account.

    If the name on your driver's license or credit card is not the name you want to use on Facebook - example: Sister John of The Cross, Sister Roma or Slotomania Betty - chances are you are a dead duck in trying to keep the name. lol

    Yes, they can deny service to anyone who doesn't show ID and they are doing it as I write.

    Yes, discrimination is rampant in this regard and it will be interesting to see if Facebook backs down the way Google did in July.

    Time will tell.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    7 years ago from United States

    #DDE - This doesn't pertain to people like you and me. FB is targeting certain classes of people who use "titles" or screen names and that is the part that isn't right. The use of real names should be a choice, not a requirement.

    I wrote a list of people who use "stage names" or "pseudonyms" and then I wrote their real name next to it. If they have a FB account - and some do - I'd like to see someone from that list go after Facebook for trying to make them change to their real name.

    But they won't. They will just close the account and open a new one under another name (probably some personal assistant's name) if they want to continue to use FB Thank you for reading, voting and commenting.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile imageAUTHOR

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    7 years ago from United States


    The privacy settings that are set to public have been changed over the years so that certain "private" information is now public on profiles. It will only get worse. Of course, this has discrimination written all over it.

    Skipping gamers and agony names to go after religious based (Mormons, Judaism, Catholics, etc.) and then LGBT for their new transgender names is ridiculous.

    I see Facebook stock prices dropping and lawsuits being filed. They may be settled out of court where the details are kept private but they shouldn't. They should plaster it all over the place when verdicts and settlements come in. Because I do think someone with enough PUSH will get this to a courtroom.

    Even though it is part of Facebook's TOS, privacy in the USA is a hot topic and I can't see SCOTUS depriving people of their privacy in the wake of a "rule" that a social website had in place but never followed through with enforcement.

    Time will tell. I notified Sister Roma on Twitter that I wrote this to see if she had anything to add or wanted to change anything I might have gotten wrong. So far, no word, but we'll see.

    Thanks for your views

  • Homeplace Series profile image

    William Leverne Smith 

    7 years ago from Hollister, MO

    Appreciate the latest word. Thanks for sharing!! ;-)

  • breakfastpop profile image


    7 years ago

    For me the bottom line is that Facebook is an open invitation for burglars, identity thieves and pedophiles. I signed off and have been much happier ever since. I used to cringe when I saw that people I know announced to the world that they were in Aruba! Dumb, dumber and dumber. Thanks for this great hub, Rachael. Voted up, useful, interesting and awesome.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    7 years ago from Olympia, WA

    You are our watchdog, and we would be wise to listen to you...once again you have done some great research and issued important information. Thank you, Rachael.

  • mothersofnations profile image

    Mothers of Nations 

    7 years ago

    Wow, ridiculous. If they don't change this soon, I believe it will cause many people to leave facebook - I guess this would be a good time to start using another social site and transfer all info, just in case...

    Defintely voted up and shared...

    God bless you.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 

    7 years ago from the beautiful south

    I bet they cannot really make you give your real name; how are they going to prove it? I see government stamped all over this if so. Thanks for the info.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    7 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Interesting hub! I prefer the real name used on facebook. It shows professionalism. I don't often use Facebook. On odd times when I need to chat to my sister. Lots to ponder on here with such social sites. An informative and useful hub. Voted up!

  • Jodah profile image

    John Hansen 

    7 years ago from Gondwana Land

    WWow Rachael, thanks for sharing this. I knew Mark Zuckerberg didn't believe that anyone should have privacy and should be transparent on Facebook, but I don't agree with this at all. I have a friend who was constantly being abused and stalked on Facebook and had to change her account name to avoid that particular it won't protect her. I know there are privacy settings etc, but there always seem to be ways around this. Nuns etc should be able to call themselves "Sister...". I have a feeling it will be too big to be able to regulate and I think there will be a big backlash. Voted up.


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