Most people on the internet must have heard of Facebook’s “Authentic Name” or “Real Name” policy by now as it has been making headlines since a surge of controversy during last year’s fall. A large number of advocacy groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Human Rights Watch penned an open letter to Facebook to protect the policy and the social network has responded by promising to make some modifications to the system by December.
The modifications in question aim to make the whole process more stable and based on real facts and to simultaneously combat trolling and bigoted behavior towards members of the LGBT community. Users who do not employ their real names on Facebook may soon be asked to provide some context as to the reasons behind their choice in a period of one week, during which they can continue using Facebook normally. Those who actually report users based on their names will also need to provide an explanation and any malicious behavior will be shut down immediately.
Facebook will also be removing its document requirements so users can confirm their names with other means such as a confirmed email address. All in all, the changes should dissuade malicious individuals from reporting others with no reason while also allowing people to use unofficial names without any repercussions other than some annoyance. The policy still is not perfect and Facebook has no plans whatsoever to remove it completely but this is surely a step in the right direction.