Can you be on Facebook with a nickname or not?

29 July 2015

Bitterwallet - Facebook There's been a lot of trouble about Facebook and their need to have users using their own names on the social network.

Some people think Facebook are being heavy-handed, while in more extreme cases, users think Facebook are jeopardising people's safety (such as those who have abusive ex-partners and the like). A lot of people are very, very irritated by the move, locked out of their accounts for using pseudonyms that everyone knows them by.

In Germany, Facebook have been prevented from stopping users creating accounts under nicknames and name's that aren't on their passports.

The Hamburg data protection authority said that Facebook could not change people's chosen usernames or ask them to provide any official ID. You see, Facebook not only ask you to use your real name, but also prove it by sending them copies of your passport, driver's licence and other photo ID. Obviously, a lot of people aren't keen on sending a company like Facebook anything like that.

"The use of authentic names on Facebook protects people's privacy and safety by ensuring people know who they're sharing and connecting with," the company said. Zuckerberg recently said that, if everyone knows you by your nickname, then you should be able to use it as your main name on Facebook - however, they've not provided any way of users doing that.

The German watchdog said making users sign up under their real names violated an individual's privacy rights, and on top of that, rejected an argument from Facebook, where the social network said they didn't have to listen to the Germans because they're based in Ireland, so should be subject to Irish law.

Hamburg's commissioner for data protection, Johannes Caspar, said: "Facebook cannot again argue that only Irish data protection law would be applicable. Anyone who stands on our pitch also has to play our game."

So, for now, it appears that you can't have a nickname and be on Facebook, and, if you want to change it to your real name, you'll have to provide the social network with images of your photo ID and the like.

TOPICS:   Social Media   Privacy


  • bill
    just shop a fake name onto your id and send that over, eezy peezy
  • Erick B.
    My friend used her nickname on fb and one of her silly friends reported her to fb. She hates using her real name, feeling exposed and after that event, she intends to quit fb. Everyone around her persuades her a lot and then she uses her name but not full name to continue using fb. Social network is so big and variable, using your real name and information may lead to something bad. I understand their point, but to that extent, I can't agree. Thanks for the nice article!

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