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Facebook stands by real-name policy as drag queens protest

Facebook has disappointed the drag queen community after it reaffirmed its real-name policy which has entailed the mass deletion of hundreds of accounts held by people using alternative names.

Members of the drag queen community had met with Facebook representatives in an effort to encourage them to change the policy but the social network is insistent that users must use their actual birth names – with no exemptions.

Activists from the niche community had argued for the right to use stage names in reference to themselves but these arguments left the social network unmoved.

In a petition calling on Facebook to change its stance the group said: “We cannot emphasize enough that Facebook is a poor arbiter of what is or isn’t a real name. Performers with legitimate-appearing names get locked out of their accounts while people with account names like “Jane ICanBeBadAllByMyself Doe” go without scrutiny. “

In its defence Chris Wolf, national chair of the Anti-Defamation League’s civil rights committee, said: “As someone who has studied online hate for 20 years, I know that a real-name policy works to prevent hate speech and harassment. Simply put, anonymity allows people to engage in harassment and bullying.”

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