Drag queens and LGBT community protest Facebook’s ‘real name’ policy at SF Pride parade

Protests over a Facebook rule that requires people on the site to prove their identities continued on Sunday, but the social network isn’t budging on its policy.

About 70 drag queens and other members of the LGBT community took to the streets of the San Francisco pride parade on Sunday to voice their concerns about the policy, marching in the event with purple and white signs that spelled out the phrase “Shame on Facebook” and the name of their campaign “My Name is.”

“We didn’t want to target pride or anything like that but we just wanted to make Facebook feel a little bit unwelcome and realize that this is an issue that is not going away until they fix it,” said Lil Miss Hot Mess, a San Francisco drag queen.

Drag queens, Native Americans, domestic violence survivors and others say some people are cyberbullying them by reporting to Facebook that they’re not using an “authentic identity,” causing them to get locked out of their accounts.

Facebook said it requires users to provide their “authentic identity” because it holds people accountable for what they say online, protecting people from harassment and cyberbullying.

The group started voicing its concerns about the rule last year and Facebook publicly apologized in October, clarifying that the site does not require a legal name and allowing for more ways and time for people to verify their identity.

But protests reignited in April because those against the policy said enough hasn’t been done. They want the company to remove the option that allows people to report a fake name, stop asking users to verify their identities and provide an easier way to get in touch with the company if that doesn’t fix the problem.

More than 2,000 people signed an online petition in April to get Facebook barred from the pride celebrations, but were unsuccessful. More than 1,500 people from Facebook marched in the San Francisco pride parade over the weekend, the social networking company said. 

In early June, more than 50 drag queens, domestic violence survivors and others showed up to Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park decked out in feathers and costumes to protest the social network’s policy.

Facebook has not announced any new changes to its authentic identity policy since the June protests.

Now protesters are looking at other strategies to get the social media company to change its mind, including the possibility of a lawsuit, legislation and other solutions.

“We need to regroup and figure out what we’re going to do,” Lil Miss Hot Mess said.

Photo Credit: About 70 people marching the San Francisco Pride parade on Sunday held up signs, protesting Facebook’s “real name” policy. Provided by Lil Miss Hot Mess.


Share this Post

  • Mikalo Madge eyes

    Thank god I’m not on Facebook.

  • aticusfinch

    Its an uphill battle which FB must argue against. Their entire business model rests on the underpinnings that they absolutely know who is sitting in front of that keyboard right now. As soon as that premise starts to crumble so do their revenue sources!! You need to make this argument not just an LGBT issue but one which effects us all. Privacy is a significant consideration for many, THIS is EVERYONES fight!!!! Join forces with privacy advocates. Educate others as to why FB should NOT be in control of your decision to reveal who you are to the online world.

  • Liberal with “social networking firms, haven’t we learn there providing information central intelligence agency saying there liberal yeah!