Overturning an earlier order from the Hamburg data protection authority on Facebook‘s “real name” policy, a German court has allowed the social networking giant to prevent its users from using fake names. Last year in July, Facebook was ordered to allow people to use pseudonyms on its website by the Hamburg data protection authority which ruled that Facebook’s “real name” policy violates the right to privacy. The Hamburg administrative court on Thursday said Facebook did not have to implement the order for the time being since its headquarters are in Ireland and it only has to abide by the Irish law. Also Read - Facebook smartwatch to feature cameras alongside fitness functions: Yes, detachable cameras!Also Read - What happens to your Facebook account after you die?
Facebook’s “real name” policy has been one of the most controversial rules on the site. According to a Tech Crunch report, Facebook has recently received criticism over requiring people to provide forms of legal identification, which do not always reflect someone’s preferred name.
Facebook has recently announced couple of changes to its real name policy to empower people from communities who are either marginalized or face discrimination, including the LGBT community. According to Justin Osofsky, vice president of global operations at Facebook, the company wants 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.
“On Facebook, we require people to use the name their friends and family know them by. When people use the names they are known by, their actions and words carry more weight because they are more accountable for what they say,” Osofsky wrote in a blog post. “However, after hearing feedback from our community, we recognise that it’s also important that this policy works for everyone, especially for communities who are marginalised or face discrimination. That’s why we’re continuing to make improvements in this area,” he wrote.
Last October, Facebook had promised that it will make changes to its real name policy after a number of false account flagging incidents led to the suspension of LGBT members’ pages. The company is also testing a new tool that will let people provide more information about their circumstances if they are asked to verify their name.
“People can let us know they have a special circumstance, and then give us more information about their unique situation,” the post read.
This additional information will help the review teams better understand the situation so they can provide more personalized support.
“We want to create the best experience that we can for everyone, and we will continue to make improvements until everyone can use the name that their friends and family know them by,” the post announced.