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Come as You Are Moral Concerns with Facebook's Identity Policies

Page history last edited by Paul Nicholas Santos 6 years, 7 months ago

Title of the Essay:      

     “Come as You Are?” Moral Concerns with Facebook’s identity Policies, Karen Dybis, August 3, 2015 


Title of the Reflection:  

     Identity Issues 


First Impression:    

     After reading the title of the article, the first thing that came into my mind would be the moral problems that come with Facebook’s identity policy, especially when it comes to people who are using dummy accounts or using the name and pictures of other people as their own. 



     “On its end, Facebook believes that it must seek out truthfulness in its membership, whose numbers help determine its advertising rates and the like. These are issues that investors would want to discuss, and these have been already disclosed in Facebook’s public filings.”    


Reflection Proper:  

      Identity - that is the main issue in the said article. Facebook is using the identity of the person, the one we got during our birth, in order to track everything that goes on within their system. If they let their users use a different name, like rolling ravioli for example, as a name to communicate with others, then they, the company, will have a hard time tracking the said person, what he or she does, who is the person behind the name, and is there an actual person behind the said name. These can be some of the problems that the company is facing; thus, I do understand why they, the company, needs to implement such policies of using one’s authentic name in their Facebook account. 

     On the other hand, the identity that the users want would be the identity of the person, of who they think they are. Yes, they might have used a different name other than the name they are given during their birth, like the name that is used in the article, which is Little Miss Hot Mess, but they are using it online as a name to identify them with. In real life they might be called with their personal name; however, on the internet and on eyeball meetings, they might be called as such. 

     Going to the issue at hand, Facebook has a stern stance that they will not let anyone use other names other than their personal one, the one that they got on their birth certificate.  We can see the difference in what type of identity both sides are using. Yes, Facebook is used online, that it is an internet thing; however, the creators of Facebook designed it to be used by real identities. They use real identities to measure accurate information on their users, who logged in at what time, what ads should show-up when they log into Facebook, etc… They can’t accurately do those things when people use alternate names. If we are going to weigh their profits rely on accurate data and for the security of all their users against the desire of some users to use their internet name or the name that goes with their identity as a person, then I think that it is right for Facebook to have a stern stance on the matter.  

     As for the Native Americans, I think that it is unjust and it is degrading to see that Facebook doesn’t accept your name as real on the basis that it is odd compared to the other names that we usually see. Thus, I believe that Facebook should mitigate this by asking the user if he or she is a Native American. By doing this, I think that the company can mitigate the said issue.  

     To end this reflection, we need to define the stark difference between the identity of the person, or who we are in our birth certificate, and the identity of the individual, or who we think we are as an individual. A person might have a different name; however, it is the name that we identify with as an individual. 


5 Things I’ve learned: 

  1. Facebook has issues with the names of its users mainly because they require the names of actual people in order for them to believe that there is a real person behind the said name. 
  2. American Indians have a hard time registering in Facebook due to their names, which is causing a bad reputation on Facebook. The bad reputation of  Facebook is seen as discrimination towards the American Indian community. 
  3. Facebook has a hard stance towards the name issue due to security reasons and due to the fact that they use it for the sake of their profit. 
  4. What makes Facebook unique against other social networking sites is the fact that its users are using their real names unlike other sites that use anonymity or other pseudo names to fill up the identity of the user. 
  5. There is a distinction between your identity as a person and your identity as an individual. 


5 Integrative Questions:        

  1. Is there a way for Facebook to have a leeway towards its naming policy? 
  2. Is there a way for Facebook to exempt the Native Americans, or the Indians, from being targeted by their system for having an odd name in comparison to the rest of the world? 
  3. Will there be a leeway in which the company, Facebook, won’t have to risk security for the identity of other people? 
  4. Does having the authentic names of its users really make Facebook unique? 
  5. Should Facebook distinguish which one is which in terms of what they want to use and what their users want to have? 


There are 911 words in this paper.


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