Facebook has gotten into trouble before for blocking members of minority communities because of the names they choose to identify with on the site. While this “authentic names” policy has previously affected members of the LGBT community who chose to go under alias or stage names, it has increasingly become a problem for Native Americans, according to a recent essay.
“I wonder why this hasn’t hit the hippies and wannabes yet who can give themselves such names like Little White Bird and yet Facebook doesn’t blink an eye at those cheesy names,” wrote Dana Lone Hill. “Why do we have to prove who we are on the internet where anybody can be whoever they want.”
After Facebook users have been accused of having a fake profile, they must jump through several irritating hoops to prove to the site that they’re accurately representing themselves. This includes sending a copy of a government ID or two other forms of identification, like a library card or yearbook photo.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a new issue; a petition on Change.org calling on Facebook to allow Native Americans to use their real names has over 10,000 signatures. Though Lone Hill’s profile was ultimately restored by Facebook, it’s still clear that the site’s unfair judgment of names is a problem that needs to be addressed in a more permanent way.