For my non-SCA followers and readers while this post may hold some interest for you it is not about calligraphy or any scribal activities whatsoever and so for you it will be entirely off topic.
This post is for Scadians who have had or may have problems keeping their SCA name as their primary name on their Facebook Account. Please keep in mind that this is my experience. And was valid and accurate at the time of this writing. I hope it is useful to others but each experience will be its own.
For my SCA followers and readers:
Greetings and warm salutations unto you from THL Ian the Green of the SCA Middle Kingdom.
Many Scadians are on facebook these days and are using their SCA names on facebook. There a couple of ways to do this. 1 – Have a “second name” with your birth name added to the profile. 2 – Have an account that has only your SCA name on it.
For those people who do not want their “mundane” life to follow their medieval recreation activities on facebook option 2 is really the only viable option. The reasons for this are varied and include but are not limited to work, family, abusers, stalkers and just not wanting to deal with it. However, Facebook uses a computer program to scan profiles for names that don’t look quite right. This actually has gotten facebook in trouble because the program is not particularly inclusive and it certainly isn’t tempered by human understanding whatsoever.
On February 19, 2015 the Guardian reported that American Indians were planning to sue Facebook in a class action suit over their real name policy and the harassment they were getting over not having euro-centric names.
In October of 2014, Facebook made a public statement that it would start allowing users to have alias names.
Well many SCA names are not typical names we see today and so they can be red flags to Facebook’s program that searches users’ names. I logged on one day and was told to change my name to something within the naming standards. Facebook quotes will be in purple. This was their exact response.
Thanks for contacting us. At this time, we can’t verify your name. It might be because it doesn’t follow our name standards and has:
– Symbols, numbers, unusual capitalization, repeating characters or punctuation
– Characters from multiple languages
– Titles of any kind (ex: professional, religious)
– More than one person’s name, because Facebook accounts are for individual use
Facebook is a place where people use their authentic identities, and we want to make sure you can use yours.
If this is the name you are known by in everyday life, please help us verify it by attaching a copy of your ID to this email.
My problem? Officially, I don’t know. However I believe it was because I had the word “the” in my name. “Ian theGreen”
So how to prove to them what my authentic name was? Well, don’t expect anything resembling professional customer service, that isn’t their job. I’m pretty sure the first couple of times I responded I was “speaking” with a program, then I got a human being who used boiler plate responses to answer me and then finally someone who was specific and used boilerplate to answer me.
Now for those who say, “Well, Facebook is free, you get what you pay for.” I disagree. While I certainly do not give Facebook my money to use their communication platform, I provide them the service of using their communication platform, and they in turn data mine the ever living crap out of each and every single one of their users. They then turn around and sell that data to interested parties, not just businesses, for a huge, huge profit. Kudos to them, but their communication platform can hardly be called free, they make billions of dollars every year because of the service we provide to them, including being captive audiences for targeted ads.
So what is the solution?
Insist that they follow their own policies. And be persistent. I had a back and forth with them for about two weeks and at least six responses. Also enlist the help of friends if need be. Have people send you mail with your authentic name on the envelope.
They want you to verify your “AUTHENTIC NAME”. That phrase is key here people. Authentic vs birth name. This is their page on the policy regarding Authentic Name Verification.
Take a good long look at Option 3:
If you don’t have an ID that shows your authentic name as well as your photo or date of birth, you can provide two forms of ID from Option 2 above, and then provide a government ID that includes a date of birth or photo that matches the information on your profile. We won’t add the name or other information from the government ID to your account.
Notice, you do NOT have to use your birth name. You do however need to use two form of acceptable “ID” AND a State issued ID to not use your birth name. My guess is that they add your birth name to the account identification software that allows them to data mine you as an individual and sell your data to their buyers. But that is just a guess on my part.
I used the following two forms of identification from their list along with my driver’s license
– Mail with my Authentic (SCA) name on it;
– Membership ID (ex: pension card, union membership, work ID, professional ID) In this case my SCA membership card.
If you use these documents I strongly recommend that you are very clear with them that your membership card has your birth name AND your Authentic Name on it. I failed to do that and they continued to refuse to let me have my Authentic Name by which 90% of the people I know use. I finally was exceedingly clear about what the documents were, what names they had on them and explicitly insisted on using option 3.
After a week of back and forth with them, I was finally given back my Authentic Name for facebook with the following message:
Thanks for your response. We’ve changed your name and reactivated your account. You should now be able to log in.
Please keep in mind that you’ll no longer be able to update your name from your settings. If you need to change your name in the future (ex: you get married), please fill out this form:
So, I can’t change my name using the settings anymore, but then again, this is my Authentic Name, why the heck would I want to change it?
So I hope this is helpful to many people, though I wish it to not be needed at all. A few last words of advice. Be honest with Facebook. This post isn’t about how to circumvent Facebook Policy, it is instead about how to navigate Facebook Policy with the least amount of trouble. Facebook has the right to run their communication platform pretty much how they want. And so just learn to plug into their system and insist that they follow it.
This post is accurate as of March 21, 2015 to Facebook Policies. Facebook is notorious for changing its policies with little or no notification to its users.
On December 15, 2015 the BBC North American in their Technology section reported that Facebook has amended its real name policy.