Facebook itself doesn't pore through names to check authenticity. Instead, the reports often come in bunches from users targeting minorities, making Facebook an unwitting party to discrimination. (Facebook also banned performers like DJ Jay Smooth, who said his stage name "is the only one I've used in public for 20-plus years.") So how to fix that? The social network changed its policy in October, saying that rather than real names, "everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life." Lone Hill said that Facebook wouldn't accept her Lakota tribe name as "authentic," even though it was given to her by her grandfather.
Facebook should at least warn users before banning accounts.
The EFF would rather Facebook not verify names at all for privacy's sake, an idea that is adamantly opposed by Mark Zuckerberg. Failing that, it feels it should at least warn users before banning accounts, giving them enough time to provide sufficient ID or prepare to go offline. It added that the appeal process is too convoluted and should be made easier. Finally, it suggested that reporting sprees targeting specific groups should be prohibited outright by Facebook. As noted by Shane Creepingbear, who also had his account suspended, "there's been a long history of native erasure, and while Facebook might not be enacting it with that intention... it's still a part of the violence against native people."
[Image credit: pshab/Flickr]