Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Facebook - You're a hypocrite and I'm a liar

Earlier, I ranted about how I could not use my real last name to sign up for a Facebook account. I surmised that "Star" is completely forbidden, as I could not add it as a middle, last, first or maiden name without some kind of appeal to Facebook. I shied away from appealing because I don't like bureaucracy and the wording of the appeal process seems so serious. To my foreign born sensitivities, this is a scary thing. I felt like I might need to appear in court or get notarized documents or be involved in something legally binding that I was going to ultimately regret. Like the authorities will take me away from my children or something because my proof to Facebook was considered counterfeit or whatever.
Luckily, someone else did the leg work so I can enlighten you about the appeal process. My sister in law shares the same last name as me and is apparently less paranoid than me because she went ahead with the appeal process (must've found it simple and non-threatening) and won! Hurray! A few days later, she's on Facebook as her real name.
But now that I've been using Facebook for a few weeks, I am really creeped out. I am relieved that I've used my maiden name. Only people who truly know me would be able to find me. And just for an extra layer of security, I made my profile private to just Facebook friends(but I like to refer to them as "friendsters" because I'm not really friends with them.).
But these privacy protecting measures are not good enough for me anymore, because Facebook is keeping tabs on a lot of online activity and sharing it willy nilly. I'm upset that on one hand, they treat privacy very casually by sharing your information while on the other they insist on this real name business (with a built-in appeal process and scary terms of use agreements no less!). If they are going to be privy to who I actually am and where I live, then they need to revise their privacy policies to treat my identity and actions as professionally and delicately as an online bank would.
Recently I scored a huge coup. I got the courage to appeal to Facebook for a name change to Cassandra Jupiter. In an unexpected whilrlwind, it was approved and my new name was activated in less than 24 hours, even though their noncomittal and slightly threatening (vis a vis bureaucracy) fine print lead me to believe otherwise.
I don't know if this is going to hurt me and my social networking goals in the long run but for now, I'm quite pleased that I was able to change my name and pull some wool over the Facebook nazis.

1 comment:

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