Facebook has received strong backlash in recent months for it’s so-called “real name” policy that requires all users on the site to identify by their given birth name. This has caused controversies in both the LGBT community, where users want to identify by stage names, and most recently among Native Americans, some of whom have been banned by the site for “fake” names. Well, you can add another insensitive situation to the list: Facebook has blocked the Facebook profile of an autistic teenager in Britain for using the name of an actor on the popular TV show Dr. Who.
19-year-old Alex Glover had his profile taken down after he changed his name to Peter Capaldi, one of the actors on the show. He does not have a phone, and his Facebook profile was his sole method of communication with much of the world. His sister, Rebecca, posted an open letter to Facebook begging them to reinstate her brother.
“We are not asking for much,” she wrote. “Our mother has tried desperately to reach your customer service team for a solution, but to no avail… We just want him to have his voice back. Some family members have not been able to contact him in weeks because of this.”
Facebook will likely reinstate Glover’s profile, but the fact that it keeps screwing up in the exact same way seems to indicate that a change in its name review process is overdue.