Essentially, Facebook has a policy of forcing everyone to use their "real name" - which may be very different from the name they actually go by or would like to use. It's a policy that has little effect on white bread middle class mundane people like myself, but is a hardship on many others, including:
- victims of stalking/domestic violence who are trying to fly undercover;
- celebrities and children of celebrities who would like to have a normal FB account and not dodge random friending entries every two minutes
- LGBT individuals who aren't necessarily out to everyone
- those whose current name doesn't reflect the gender they're transitioning to
- those who are trying to maintain a sharp division between work life and personal life
- those who commonly go by a name that is not their "legal" name.
Facebook absolutely is a non-governmental institution, and can institute whatever rules it would like. At the same point, those of us who disagree with those rules can and should express our disagreement with those rules. Tomorrow's Facebook Blackout Day is a way to do that. The details are in the link below, but basically you join the event, and then deactivate your Facebook page for the day.
Do I believe it will actually cause change? Honestly, no. I think Facebook is too tonedeaf to hear the message. But I also think there's value in expressing the opinion anyway.
I do believe that people can disagree on this issue - I think the "real name" policy is abhorrent, while others may believe it's not a big deal, and may even believe that Facebook offers sufficient privacy protections to mitigate the concerns of those listed above. (um....yeah....)
It's an individual choice, and I have no animosity towards those who don't think this protest is needed. Again, we all have the right to our opinions. But if you do agree with me and want to participate, a link to the FB Blackout Day event is below.