Facebook raised a storm of outrage last month when it decided to more strictly enforce it’s “real names” policy, inadvertently forcing many in the LGBT community to reveal their true identities on the site. However, Facebook has reversed its stance, and officially apologized in a blog post from product chief Christopher Cox.
“In the two weeks since the real-name policy issues surfaced, we’ve had the chance to hear from many of you in these communities and understand the policy more clearly as you experience it,” he wrote. “We’ve also come to understand how painful this has been. We owe you a better service and a better experience using Facebook, and we’re going to fix the way this policy gets handled so everyone affected here can go back to using Facebook as you were.”
Cox also noted that the site needs to get back to the “spirit” of the policy, which encourages Facebook users to identify themselves on the site as they do in real life — no matter how outlandish the name. He also said that Facebook is working on better tools to identify and differentiate between users who have a legitimate pseudonym on the site versus ones that are merely acting as spam.
Though the move is definitely a result of a tidal wave of bad publicity (and many users leaving Facebook for rival social networks), it’s a positive sign moving forward that Facebook was so willing to listen to the complaints of a small minority of its users.