What’s in a Name – Facebook’s Real Name Policy and User Privacy


There have been growing concerns about the danger of a surveillance society that is facilitated by social media, in which individuals voluntarily surrender their data to service providers. Amongst the major social media services, Facebook stands out not only because of its market share but also because of its insistence on a strong real name policy. Subscribers must sign up with their real name as their username on the platform. Due to this policy, Facebook users have more reasons to worry about government and corporate surveillance. Facebook’s subscribers have protested against its real name policy. Yet Facebook’s position on demanding real names remains firm. The track record of Facebook’s privacy practice is problematic, although they repeatedly assert that users have control of their data, including how much Facebook uses the users’ data they collected for targeted advertising. This paper argues that users lose much of their control so long as Facebook continues to insist on its real name policy, because there is already so much information about us in our names. This paper addresses why Facebook should reconsider their position and allow pseudonymous usernames, and discusses the potential legal grounds to challenge Facebook’s real name policy under EU GDPR’s new regulatory regime.


What’s in a Name – Facebook’s Real Name Policy and User Privacy


中央研究院法律學研究所 陳舜伶