Community Support FYI: Improving the Names Process on Facebook

Community Support FYI is a series of posts about how we work to keep the Facebook community safe, supported and connected.

By Justin Osofsky, Vice President of Global Operations, and Todd Gage, Product Manager

Facebook is a place where people share and connect with their family and friends. In order for this to happen, people need to feel safe and be confident they know who they are communicating with.

On Facebook, we require people to use the name their friends and family know them by. When people use the names they are known by, their actions and words carry more weight because they are more accountable for what they say. It also makes it harder for bullies to anonymously smear the reputations of others, or anyone else to use an anonymous name to harass, scam or engage in criminal behavior.

We’re firmly committed to this policy, and it is not changing. However, after hearing feedback from our community, we recognize that it’s also important that this policy works for everyone, especially for communities who are marginalized or face discrimination. That’s why we’re continuing to make improvements in this area.

Today, we will begin to test new tools that address two key goals. First, we want to reduce the number of people who are asked to verify their name on Facebook when they are already using the name people know them by. Second, we want to make it easier for people to confirm their name if necessary. These tools have been built based on many conversations with community leaders and safety organizations around the world.

A new version of names reporting that requires people to provide context
We are introducing a new version of the names reporting process that requires people to provide additional information about why they are reporting a name. In the past, people were able to simply report a “fake name” but now they will be required to go through several new steps that provide us more specifics about the report. This additional context will help our review teams better understand why someone is reporting a name, giving them more information about a specific situation.

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A new way for people to describe their special circumstance when verifying their name
We’re also testing a new tool that will let people provide more information about their circumstances if they are asked to verify their name. People can let us know they have a special circumstance, and then give us more information about their unique situation. This additional information will help our review teams better understand the situation so they can provide more personalized support. This information will also help inform potential improvements we can make in the future.

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In addition to these two improvements, over the last year, we made several other changes to our processes to make sure they work for everyone. We expanded the options and documents that everyone on Facebook can use to verify their name. We started rolling out a new process in which people will have access to their account for seven days while they verify or update their name. We also implemented additional security protections for documents that people share with us when they are verifying their name.

These improvements are only the beginning. Early in the new year, we will be looking at other ways we can reduce the number of people who have to go through an ID verification experience, while preserving the safety of other people on the site. We will also continue to work on making the experience itself more compassionate and easier to navigate. Throughout this process, we will continue our ongoing conversations with the Facebook community so they can share their thoughts on improvements they’d like to see.

These tools are currently being tested on a limited basis in the US only, across mobile and desktop. Based on feedback, we will iterate and roll them out globally.

We want to create the best experience that we can for everyone, and we will continue to make improvements until everyone can use the name that their friends and family know them by.

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