State Of The Nation

Posted on 19th September 2011

Sadly it seems history does repeat. Four years ago I was blocked from Facebook for having a fake name. However, since then I have changed my name by deed poll. My passport, bank accounts, etc all now have Barbie on official documents. I'm hoping that providing my passport provides the proof needed that Barbie is indeed my real name.

As with my previous post I still have to ask why social networks have to insist on full real names, when these are not used in real life. Certainly in the UK you are not under any obligation to use your full or even first name, even for official documents.

I don't use my surname as that is a family name, and not something that I publicly use. In fact many still don't know my surname. Some may know my old surname, while not knowing my new surname. It shouldn't be for social networks to decide how you are to be publicly exposed. It comes close to a witch-hunt.

There has been a campaign recently called My Name Is Me, which started thanks to an incident with Skud and Google+. It really is a shame that people have to start things like this just to protect their identity.

In Facebook's own Privacy Policy, it states quite clearly "Your privacy is very important to us." Except that's contradicted by them insisting that you use your full name when using their site. If your full name is not publicly known, isn't that a breach of privacy? Now I understand that these are their rules, but I still don't understand why they are needed. I've not seen any reason why publicly outing someone's full name is socially acceptable just to use a service.

Four years ago a developer at Facebook put forward my case to those who make these decisions within Facebook, and after being reinstated I became the only person (as far as I know) to have a single name on Facebook. I hope they agree to reinstating my account again, but sadly I don't feel so hopeful this time around. We shall see.

Seeing as Facebook has become the place to keep in touch with pretty much everyone, and pretty much everyone who has me as a friend only knows me as Barbie, it would be a shame to be forceably excluded from interacting with friends I don't get to talk to regularly around the world.


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