When Facebook formally apologized to the LGBT community for deactivating the accounts of drag queen performers because they were not identifying themselves using their real names, many assumed the issue was resolved. However, as reported by The Guardian last week, the site has continued to shut down accounts.
According to Facebook, hundreds of accounts were flagged and reported by one individual, and the site missed the trend when they deactivated the accounts. Though the site has restored many of these profiles, according to LGBT leaders, many profiles are still being shut down.
“Every time one or two get fixed, a handful get suspended,” said Sister Roma, a San Francisco performer who has led the campaign for Facebook to allow drag queens to remain anonymous on the site. “So we really feel like we’re swimming upstream, and while I’m hopeful that Facebook is doing the right thing, it’s discouraging.”
Sister Roma said that she has received 300 to 400 emails from people whose accounts have been deactivated. Despite the continued profile suspensions, Facebook has proven to be sensitive to the issue, even setting up Sister Roma with a special email account she can use to forward issues to Facebook. Instead, it appears to be bigoted users that are the real problem.
“Facebook is not the enemy here, really,” Sister Roma said. “The problem is that people are using this policy that Facebook has in place to target and bully members of the Facebook community they don’t like.”