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Woman’s response to Facebook’s ‘real names’ policy backfires horribly

Facebook user Jemma Rogers changed her name by deed poll to Jemmaroid Von Laalaa in a bid to keep her old online handle – even though a legal change isn’t required to do this. 

Rogers initially fell afoul of Facebook’s ‘authentic names’ policy; the social network has increasingly been taking steps to get users to use their real life names, as part of a drive to crack down on abuse. 

While this may be successful in holding users accountable for their actions, Facebook’s authentic names policy has earned it criticism from artists, activists, drag performers, trans users and basically anyone who wants to carry on using a name that’s different to their legal name.  

Rogers argued in the Independent that while pseudonyms do give bullies a measure of power, fake names can be used to hide from people they don’t want to speak to in real life.

“So many people set up accounts in fake names so random people can’t add them or so they don’t have to awkwardly decline requests from people they know but don’t want to be ‘friends’ with.” 

In forcing people to be upfront about their offline identities, Facebook’s approach is something of a double-edged sword. 

Related: How to hide Timehop from Facebook permanentlyWhatever her reasons, Rogers persisted with keeping her digital moniker intact. In accordance with Facebook’s rules, sought proof that she was genuinely called that. Von Laalaa went one step further though – paying to change her name on the deed poll service and updating her bank details. 

According to the Independent, Rogers had been locked out of her account despite rushing to change her details. 

At the time of writing were able to find two profiles on Facebook with the Jemmaroid Von Laalaa. Rogers’s account was initially suspended, but this was a mistake. We’ve been able to confirm that since the Independent’s piece went live, Facebook had reinstated the original Von Laalaa profile. 

Facebook updated its terms and conditions last year which saw it asking people to use what the network calls their ‘authentic name’. This doesn’t have to be your full legal name – Thomas Newton could be ‘Tom Newton’ or ‘Thom Newton’ – but Facebook can ask you to provide pieces of ID. 

This doesn’t mean you have to change your name by deed poll, but you may be asked to show photo ID and something with your date of birth on along with your authentic name (the name you’d like to use on Facebook) printed. This can be a piece of mail, magazine subscription or any proof of address. 

All Rogers needed to do was take out a subscription to a sevice under the name ‘Jemmaroid Von Laalaa’. 

“I can’t believe I’m stuck with this stupid name and I still can’t get into my Facebook,” said Rogers earlier today. 

It costs £36 to change your name in the UK or £40 if you were born or adopted in Scotland. Most banks won’t charge you when you change your name. 

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