Sticking it to the FB eye

Story in The Verge

There’s an unending siege of fake name trends on Facebook. It has been cool at various times to insert an adjective for a middle name, abbreviate your initials, or remove vowels; legions of tween girls have changed their last names to “Bieber” to imply marriage to the pop star. . . .

“The name you use should be your real name as it would be listed on your credit card,” Facebook says. “Pretending to be anything or anyone is not allowed.” Unsurprisingly, many Facebook users continue to ignore these rules. Catching them is a growing headache for the social network as it attempts to build a business, but the crackdown on real names reflects a greater tension: the battle for control between a virtual government and its 950 million citizens. . . .

Facebook estimates that nearly 83 million registered users are actually duplicated accounts, spammers, or non-people, like that profile you made for your puppy. That’s a staggering number, and Facebook has acknowledged such “inauthentic” accounts as a potential threat to its brand and business. Facebook has also made its effort to crack down on nicknames and pseudonyms pretty public, allowing users to display “alternate” names only in parentheses.

There is no estimate for people who go by a realistic fake name, although the phenomenon could potentially pose trouble for the social network that wants to own your real identity on the web. . . .

For many users, Facebook is just another digital playground like Tumblr, Twitter, or Instagram, and it’s more fun when you can be slightly anonymous.




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