Thursday, September 18, 2014

Q Toon: The Secretive Nym

Turning our attention now to what has been classified as a First World Problem:
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Sep 18, 2014
Facebook has lately gone on a tear against drag performers whose Facebook pages are under their performance names rather than the names on their drivers' licenses -- closing down the performers' Facebook pages and requiring them to change the name on their accounts. This is because of Facebook's "real names" policy, which is supposed to protect against accounts set up to impersonate another user, for example. As a company spokesman put it, the policy is intended to “prevent bad behavior, while creating a safer and more accountable environment.”

Cross-gender personalities from San Francisco to Seattle have been up in arms over abruptly losing their pseudonymous accounts.

The NymWar does sound like a strictly First World Problem if you only consider this:
The problem here is that Facebook is strong arming many performers to switch their pages over to Fan Pages/Like Pages, which, for all intents and purposes, are the most useless thing on Facebook. Unless you have thousands of dollars to shell out for ads to get your page boosted for views, Like Page posts get lost among a sea of InstaGrams and viral trends.
On the other hand, these performers can face real-life stalking and harassment, or loss of employment. The Personnel Department at Beige Cubicle Inc. is very likely to think twice about hiring Harry Jones after they look up Harry Jones's Facebook page and see dozens of photos of Harry Jones on stage at Folsom Street dressed as Sister Ivanna Smooch. Gay bashing, moreover, is still a very real thing, and anyone who transgresses gender boundaries makes an easy target.

Given that the "real names" policy has been around for years, why has Facebook suddenly gone after so many drag performers?
A source at Facebook explained that, in general, profile pages are only reviewed when “a member of the Facebook community reports it to us,” adding that, “In these instances, the profiles would have been reported to us.” Given the high number of queens being “hit hard,” as Miz Cracker put it, someone has clearly made a serious project of reporting drag profiles to (or perhaps from within) the company.
A coalition met with Facebook executives this week, but were rebuffed.
A company spokesman said that Facebook would temporarily reactivate the profiles of several hundred members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community whose profiles have been deactivated: "This will give them a chance to decide how they’d like to represent themselves on Facebook. Over the next two weeks, we hope that they will decide to confirm their real name, change their name to their real name, or convert their profile to a Page."

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