Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t care about those of us in less-privileged populations and doesn’t want us to use Facebook in the way that’s safest for us.
“You have one identity,” he emphasized three times in a single interview with David Kirkpatrick in his book, “The Facebook Effect.” “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly.” He adds: “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”
I suppose that Mark Zuckerberg thinks that being an ex-Muslim causes someone to “lack integrity” and therefore doesn’t belong on his social media site.
In the past, I have used two fake versions of my name on Facebook to throw my gossip-hungry relatives off the trail. At the time, when people in my family and community were getting off on finding “dirt” about me and telling my parents about it, having the option of being less easy to find was very helpful. I didn’t want to leave Facebook because it was the way by which I stayed in touch with friends who were sympathetic towards the struggle I endured.
There are ex-Muslims in worse situations than those in which I’ve ever been. There are people whose parents have brutally physically abused them for minor transgressions who fear the worst if their apostasy were revealed. There are people who are married who might stand to lose custody of their children if their spouses were to discover that they are atheists. There are minors whose parents could ship them off overseas to be forcibly schooled in religion or even wed against their will if they were to discover their child’s true feelings about Islam. There are women who are at the financial and social mercy of their fathers or husbands who cannot go public with their lack of faith in Islam.
I supposed those people “lack integrity” for using Facebook as a tool by which to pseudonymously organize, network, and plan their escape from their horrid situations; to talk to others to help gain the strength and resources they need to come out to their families; or to simply blow off steam until their lives get better.
Using Facebook this way is hardly something limited to ex-Muslims. Much of the coverage of the “Real” Names policy has focused on drag queens. Trans people are also adversely affected, since we live in a society where legally affirming your real gender if you’re not cis is difficult at best. Victims of stalking often use different names from their legal ones on social media to throw stalkers off their trail. Some employers force employees to add them on Facebook or even give them their log-in information; these employees might have one profile for work and one, under a less-searchable name, for personal use.
Notice what all these groups have in common? Vulnerable is a word that comes to mind. Oppressed is another.
And these people are now highly at-risk for being driven from Facebook under the “Real” Names policy.
Talk about picking on people who already get picked on the most in society. Great job, Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook is so gosh-darn brave to take a stand against those awful folks who have the gall to need to protect themselves from bullies, abusers, and other dangers.
Edit 9/19 noon PDT: title changed so as to avoid derailing