Weeks after telling hundreds of drag queens that they must change their Facebook profile to reflect their real name or be denied access, the social network has relented, saying it was all an honest mistake. "I want to apologize to the affected community of drag queens, drag kings, transgender, and extensive community of our friends, neighbors, and members of the LGBT community for the hardship that we've put you through in dealing with your Facebook accounts over the past few weeks," chief product officer Chris Cox wrote in a blog post. When someone flags a name as fake, which happened to a large number of drag queens, Facebook asks the user for some indication that the name is the one used in everyday life. "Our policy has never been to require everyone on Facebook to use their legal name," Cox wrote.
This is at odds with the way the policy was explained previously. A Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch "We hope they will decide to confirm their real name, change their name to their real name, or convert their profile to a page." Drag queens insisted their drag personas were their "real" names, but until now Facebook did not accommodate them. Cox promised future issues will be addressed "in a less abrupt and more thoughtful way," and Mark Snyder of the Transgender Law Center said after meeting with the company that "Facebook is ready to collaborate with our communities."