Privacy, Identity, Performers and Facebook

Has Facebook’s Anti-Privacy Policy Really Been Resolved?

master-nick-roberts-King2QueenAn individual on Facebook has reported hundreds of profiles of people in the LGBT community. Automatically taking these reports at face value, FB essentially said, “Papers, please,” to those who’d been targeted, then banned many of them.

After subsequently losing many users to Ello and other sites, FB has since given a P.R. statement offering an apology, then saying that they intend to improve their authenticating process so that the LGBT community won’t (again) suffer this particular kind of discrimination.

While drag queens bravely took point and became the face of the issue, FB’s wording still seems to leave drag performers and other artists in a grey area at best. Perhaps this is because FB prefers that public figures employ “Like” pages, but the interface is maddeningly limited and the reach is minimal, even if you pay to promote your page.

And not everyone who legitimately needs to keep their birth name private is a public figure. Teachers wanting a life separate from their students, women escaping a violent environment, and many others may also still be left out in the cold by FB policy.

If someone reports a profile as fake, FB may still require proof of “authentic” identity. (It’s a good thing my own FB profile already matches my birth name, because I also work in the arts under the moniker “Master Nick,” but I have no ID that states such beyond my own business cards.)

It remains to be seen how well FB may or may not come to respect the privacy of people with valid reasons for adopting a new name. FB’s track record has not been encouraging so far, but I do hope for the best.

In the meantime, you are cordially invited to receive updates on exhibitions, performances, publications and more both here and on Twitter, ’cause FB doesn’t get a monopoly.

“Dream King and Acid Queen” art by
Nick Roberts
 © 2014

For twisted fiction, acquire a copy of “Gonzombie and Other Dark Tales”

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