I awoke Wednesday to find that my FB account had been locked out – I couldn’t sign in until I prove that I am who I say. Right: like who thinks I’m not actually what my Facebook page has always said, “e-Patient Dave” deBronkart?
Then that night, talking to my wife, I discovered (see image) that my whole Facebook page has been taken down, until I stop this fraud and prove I’m really the guy who calls himself “e-Patient Dave”!
You see, since last year Facebook has been running this giant anti-fraud, anti-bullying project called their “real names” policy. Noble idea, but it’s so poorly implemented that there’s a Wikipedia page about it, including this:
The controversy stems from a policy that those who have been adversely affected describe as penalizing users who are in fact using their real names which Facebook has nevertheless deemed to be “fake”, while simultaneously allowing anyone to create fake yet plausible-sounding names, as well as obviously implausible-sounding names comprising word combinations that Facebook’s software fails to recognize as unlikely to be real.
Backfire. In 2014 they got in a lot of trouble, and had to back off, because (for instance) some people do NOT use their real names, specifically TO protect themselves against abuse or other consequences. (More on this in the links below.)
Back then they told me I had to use my real name – stop using “e-Patient Dave.” I grumbled but changed it. Except guess what? These geniuses decided that all surnames obviously start with a capital letter – which my real name doesn’t – so when I changed the first name, it wrongly capitalized the last name (deBronkart) to DeBronkart!
Yes, the know-it-all Facebook “authentic name” software insists on not letting me use my authentic (spelled properly) name.
And they won’t fix it. Won’t even respond to my multiple support messages about it. Every time I’ve sent a support request, weeks later they’ve sent another “Thank you for your feedback. You’re so important to us” crapmail. A classic disrespectful, passive-aggressive “you can’t make me talk to you” brushoff.
D*cks. And all for my own good.
I know Facebook is famous for running “social experiments” to see what people do when they’re jerked around. Well, I’ve had it. Screw ’em. It would be one thing if they had integrity and if they were competent about their policy and their software.
The final farce
The real irony is that a month ago there was a big flurry of publicity about an announcement that they’re fixing the issue. Some of the coverage:
- The Guardian: Facebook relaxes ‘real name’ policy in face of protest
… While Facebook does not require the use of “legal names” on the site, it does demand that users identify with the name that other people know them by.
Well, that would be “e-Patient Dave.”
Facebook is making two primary changes. First, the site will now allow users to provide additional context and explanation for using the name they do when confirming their accounts.
Er, um, the lockout / sign-in page shows no such possibility. See graphic at right from the verify page. (Or am I missing something??)
“We want to reduce the number of people who are asked to verify their name on Facebook, when they are already using the name people know them by,” [FB VP of growth] Schultz wrote. “We want to make it easier for people to confirm their name if necessary.” Now, Facebook says it may give users the opportunity to write to Facebook’s Community Operations team to explain their name choice.
No such offer came to me. And, btw, I am using the name people know me by. No fraud here, boys.
How do I reach the Community Operations team? Googling only shows me many HR ads for openings – not how to reach them. Nor does searching the FB help page.
You can google for more such articles.
Anyway, no, I’m not going to a bunch of extra trouble just because Facebook’s geniuses (or robots) have decided I’m not the person known as e-Patient Dave … the same geniuses (or robots) who don’t know that some names start with a lowercase letter. Screw you, FB; I can live without you. Come back when you grow up.
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