As I’m sure a lot of you have heard, seen or experienced, Facebook decided to enforce their “Fake Name” portion of their Terms of Service on Tuesday of this week. What does that mean? Well, Tuesday morning any of us that had a normal Facebook account that had “cosplay” as the last name had our page disabled. We lost all our content, contacts, photos, messages, plus years of memories in one quick swoop.
I can understand that Facebook would want to enforce their TOS. However, I do not condone the practice of select enforcement of such regulations. Allowing such “fake names” at sign up which went unenforced for seven years, to going as an offense that results in deactivation overnight seems a little unreasonable. Facebook gave practial no warning of the sudden coercion of their TOS. Allegedly, they had made a press release to CNN and various tech sites of the pending enforcement, however I have not been able to find such statments. Furthermore, if Facebook was going to do anything that would effect over 80 million users, it might be a good idea to inform their users ON Facebook. No automated messages through Facebook or e-mail were sent out. Not even an update on Facebook’s Facebook about the upcoming reinforcement of their TOS or friendly reminder of their TOS was made. Plus, let’s not forget the millions of users out there that are using fake names that are obviously fake. If names like “Kawaii Chan” can exists on Facebook with no repercussions, than so should “X Cosplay.”
Facebook claims that the use of “fake names” is a community security risk, and allowance of such practices would cause further bullying, impersonations and other negative behavior. Ironically, cosplayers usually go by an alias to protect him or herself from unfavorable people online and to give some sense of privacy/separation between their cosplay lifestyle and their real life. Forcing us to use our real names in such a massive public networking site causes a greater security risk than allowing one to use an alias.
Yes, Facebook Pages were created for public figures, companies, brands, ect. to have a presence on Facebook, however, Facebook’s Page system is inherently flawed. The tagging system on Pages is an annoying cruel joke, that works just as well as blinker fluid. Also when a person opts to use a Page instead of a normal account, a significant chunk of user to user interaction is lost. One can not see status updates of normal users, only Page updates can be seen on the Feed. The only way to see status updates of normal users is to add them to a personal normal account. This severed line of communication between users and Page owners really defeats the purpose of having a Facebook at all!
Basically, yes Facebook was in the right and us cosplayers were in the wrong. However, can you blame us? We use Facebook as a means of communication with people from all walks of life, and with Facebook having one of the largest social network in the world, it became the best, the most popular and in some cases the ONLY means of networking with individuals. Yet in an effort to protect ourselves we used an alias which ironically can only be used on a section of Facebook that cuts off communication with the bulk of it’s users – the main reason we all joined Facebook in the first place.
I’m currently working on getting my previous account back. Until that can proceed further, I have started using my Facebook Page again. You can follow my cosplay updates on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/WindoftheStars