Have the folks at Facebook come unglued, or is this a scam I should just ignore? I am not a big Facebook user, but yesterday when I tried to have a quick gander at my page, I was instead directed to another page where I was instructed to enter my real name – the one I go by on a daily basis. My Facebook ‘name’ has always been my blog name – DCMontreal – but it seems that is no longer acceptable.
Not only must I declare my real name, I must prove it by supplying documentation. A passport or credit card. Until I do, I can’t access my account.
Does anyone actually scan government documents and upload them to the Internet? In this age of hacking why would Facebook even suggest doing this?
But online security is not my main gripe. Oh no. What irks me is that a basic tenet of the Internet is the ability to remain anonymous, to function under a pseudonym. People have been writing under noms de plume for centuries, what is the problem? It’s Facebook, not a bank or government agency! I can’t even change to John Doe or Phil Smith because I don’t have Mr. Doe’s or Smith’s documentation.
What about people in witness protection programs? No more Facebook for them I guess.
For the first time in my life I think I may have a sense of what it must be like to be ‘outed’. I don’t like being forced to reveal something about myself; not that I would not reveal the information, my ‘real’ name, and photograph are clearly evident on my blog which is linked to my Facebook account. Like a gay person who would prefer to keep their sexual orientation private, I take umbrage at being forced to reveal my name.
In a recent column in the Globe and Mail Denise Balkissoon writes: Now that the Internet is so ubiquitous, many privacy and free-expression advocates believe that the ability to be anonymous online is nothing less than a basic tenet of a free society.
I agree wholeheartedly. Shame on you Facebook
More information regarding online anonymity is available at Tor.