Lil Miss Hot Mess and Co. Win Facebook Battle

Company apologizes for suspending drag queens' accounts
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2014 3:02 AM CDT
Facebook to Drag Queens: Real Names Not Needed
Drag queens, from left, Lil Miss Hot Mess, Sister Roma, and Heklina take turns speaking about their battle with Facebook during a news conference at City Hall in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Victory for Sister Roma, Lil Miss Hot Mess, and hundreds of other drag queens who had fallen afoul of Facebook's "real name" policy: The company says it will ease up on the policy and they can carry on using their stage names. The drag queens had their accounts suspended and were asked to authenticate their names, which a Facebook exec says happened after a single user reported the Facebook pages of hundreds of drag queens for violating the name policy, TechCrunch reports. "Our policy has never been to require everyone on Facebook to use their legal name," the exec said in a Facebook post. "The spirit of our policy is that everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life."

Sister Roma and other gay rights activists had argued that Facebook's insistence on using their real names could lead to harassment, CNET reports. But the Facebook exec who announced that the policy would be eased also said the real-name policy is a "very powerful force for good" when used to combat online bullying and anonymous attacks, and while the policy won't be abandoned, Facebook will take more steps to understand the situation when a user is reported for using a fake name, reports the New York Times. (Invite-only social media site Ello, meanwhile, doesn't require people use their real names and is growing fast.)

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