Facebook’s real name policy is about to get a few tweaks: you will soon be able to use pseudonyms on the world’s largest social network, assuming you’re famous enough to have one.
Facebook is about to start allowing prominent public figures to verify their accounts and display a preferred pseudonym instead of their birth name. Starting tomorrow, Facebook will start notifying some of its users, notably those with many subscribers, that they can verify their identity by submitting a government-issued photo ID. They will then be given the option to enter an “alternate name” that can be used to find them through search and that can be displayed next to their real name in parentheses or simply replace their real name (birth names will still be shown on the user’s profile), according to TechCrunch.
Facebook will manually approve alternative names to make sure individuals are really the celebrities, politicians, journalists, and so on they claim they are. Those with verified accounts will also gain more prominent placement in Facebook’s “People To Subscribe To” suggestions.
It’s important to note how verified accounts work with Facebook’s real name policy, which has always stated you must use your birth name on the social network. On the one hand, verified accounts allow more than just the nick names allowed previously, since verified accounts allow pseudonyms that can replace your real name on the service, while nick names are just attached to your name. On the other hand, the same rules still apply since if anyone can still go ahead and check a celebrity’s real name.
This move is also an attempt to mitigate the potential problem of impostors and scammers abusing other people’s names on Facebook, which is already a big issue even without the ability to use pseudonyms. It also means Facebook is pointing yet another gun at Twitter, which allows you to use any name you want and is very popular among celebrities.