Facebook apologizes after discovering that a single account reported hundreds of trans people.

One bad actor (TERF?) reported hundreds of trans people, Facebook says the reporting function will be reviewed.

facebook gender cleansing

We tried to get Facebook’s name policy changed in 2011 after dozens of trans people accounts were deleted. Facebook ignored our petition with hundreds of signatures.

  • Facebook to improve the reporting and enforcement mechanisms.

If you’ve read my previous articles before or been listening to the news recently you’ll be aware of the recent problems being faced by the LGBT and Drag community on Facebook. A controversial real name policy, a policy that has always been in place but rarely enforced in the past, has been used to delete a number of profiles of people that are believed to have been ‘using fake names’.

Facebook have since said that he problem occurred when a single user reported hundreds of accounts belonging to drag queens and transgender people last month. The company said that it did not realise that these groups were being targeted as they were amongst several thousand fake name reports that are processed every week.

Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox acknowledged that the experience had been “painful” for those involved.

‘I want to apologize to the affected community of drag queens, drag kings, transgender, and extensive community of our friends, neighbours, and members of the LGBT community for the hardship that we’ve put you through in dealing with your Facebook accounts over the past few weeks,’ he said.

Facebook has expanded upon their real name policy and have changed their stance from people needing to use their legal name to the name that they use most in everyday life. Meaning that for drag performers, transgender people, actors, writer, victims of abuse or bullying then they can continue to use the names on the accounts that were just a week ago under risk of being deleted.

As someone who had their last profile deleted I’m glad that the chance of it happening again has, hopefully, gone. I’m also glad that other people won’t have to go through it either, whether trans or not. I’ve been debating about the subject with a few people and it’s been surprising just how many people supported this policy, who wanted people deleted for not using their ‘real’ name.

I’ve seen arguments ranging from ‘lying about your name shows lack of integrity’, to ‘you don’t pay to use Facebook, if they want to delete you they should be able to’ to some extremely transphobic comments that I’m not going to share here.

The bottom line is the policy that they were trying to enforce was wrong. It was unfair and potentially dangerous to those they were targeting.

I don’t know if Facebook have reversed their decision on this policy because they came to their sense and realised that the policy was unfair or if it’s simply because of the amount of backlash and negative attention they are getting. I hope it’s the former, but even if it’s not I’m not going to complain because I’m just happy that they have changed their mind.

At least now I and others can continue to use Facebook without the fear of our accounts suddenly being deleted.



Amy is a journalist and editor contributing the websites Planet Transgender, Gay News Network, The Bottle Episode, The Retro Box and Claire Channel. Amy is also a published comic book writer and letterer.

In addition to her writing Amy has also worked with the Centre For Hate Crime Studies in Leicester and has worked in the capacity of an advisor to the United Nations Entity For Gender Equality and The Empowerment of Women.

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