So Facebook has evidently glimpsed its own mortality…
The popular social media site’s draconian demand that all Facebookers use their real names had the twofold effect of 1. chasing off a bunch of alternative lifestyle accounts and 2. making Ello “a thing.”
Several weeks ago, Facebook locked users out of their pages with the demand that real names had to be used for the site and that fake names could be anchored to them only as “fan pages.” Their idea, ostensibly, was to control spam and subversive corporate pages. What it did was piss off the LGBT community something fierce.
Initially ignoring the pleas, many of them from drag queens complaining that their “stage name” was now their “real name,” Facebook was all prepared to just let the community simmer. And then something strange happened. Many of the affected users simply jumped ship … and went to Ello.
Ello, the hip, new anti-corporate friend site, so far seems to have been the major benefactor as they don’t give a good goddamn whose name you sign up with — provided that you can sign up, of course. The site has recently been inundated with new traffic but it’s by invite only, and invitations are now scarce.
Of course several early adopters are complaining that Ello currently sucks, citing lag times with posts, a malfunctioning search bar and “too much white space.” But Facebook might be realizing that users are more than willing to put up with all that white noise if it means escaping their clutches. So now, the drag queens get a policy change and an apology.
Facebook is meeting with a coalition of LGBT and drag queen activists and the report from Valleywag is that they have indeed apologized and are now pursuing steps of corrective action.
A fantastic quote from Sister Roma, a self-identified queer nun to the SFist reads: “I want my friends to find me…I detest the idea of having a fan page. I’m not f**king Britney Spears. I have friends, not fans.”
Preach on, sister! And congrats to all who worked on getting the policy reversal. My online name can still be “Dick Handsome” thanks to you.
Share this story with your peers because it’s one of those “David vs. Goliath” things you’re supposed to root for.