Facebook is serious about using real names for user profiles, so much so that they are now recruiting user to help identify their friends’ fake names. Screenshots have surfaced of new prompt that allows a user to confirm, deny or not answer whether or not a friend is using a real name. All responses are anonymous and Facebook states that answers “won’t affect your friend’s account.”
Facebook has confirmed that this is a legitimate prompt with TheNextWeb. They also reiterated that isn’t prompt isn’t being used for enforcement, rather for a better understanding of Facebook users. Facebook requires that all users must use their real name (shortened names like “Greg” are ok) and that a nickname is allowed using the alternate name field within user settings. Alternate names will show up next to the real name of a user.
It’s likely that Facebook is simply using this prompt to learn more about its users rather than to dole out punishment. As we saw with Facebook’s 10-Q filing last month, Facebook keeps extremely robust data on user accounts and isn’t afraid to share. The message however has more of a tattletale feel than a census feel. The prompt flatly asks “Is this your friend’s real name?” without mentioning anywhere that it is a survey.
Facebook user policy states:
Facebook is a community where people use their real identities. We require everyone to provide their real names, so you always know who you’re connecting with.
Other things to keep in mind:
The name you use should be your real name as it would be listed on your credit card, student ID, etc.
Nicknames can be used as a first or middle name if they’re a variation of your real first or last name (like Bob instead of Robert)
You can also list another name on your account (ex: maiden name, nickname, or professional name), by adding an alternate name to your timeline
Only one person’s name should be listed on the account – timelines are for individual use only
- Pretending to be anything or anyone is not allowed