After Facebook initiated a new policy suspending accounts with fake names, one user, Chase Nahooikaikakeolamauloaokalani Silva, was left upset when the website suspended his actual account.
Facebook noted that the new policy would protect users and keep the online community safe by guaranteeing that a person you connect with is real. However, the policy didn’t work in Silva’s favor.
“That’s my name,” Silva wrote on Facebook. “I am a proud Hawaiian who wants to be able to display my Hawaiian given name.”
Following the incident, Silva uploaded a portion of his birth certificate to his Facebook profile in order to prove that his middle name was real.
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According to Silva, the name means “to be strong and draw strength from heaven alone”. Silva’s great-grandmother, who spoke Hawaiian fluently, chose the name for him.
Silva has since shortened his middle name to a single initial, since he claims there’s no easy way to prove his identity to Facebook. A user must submit approved documents in order to confirm their real name.
"We've always required that people use their real identity on their Facebook profiles," Andrew Souvall, a representative for Facebook, said. "We also recognize that a person’s real identity is not necessarily the name that appears on their legal documentation, and that’s why we accept other forms of identification."
Facebook considers an acceptable form of identification as anything from a bank statement to a magazine subscription stub.
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Still, Silva has argued that Facebook doesn’t have the right to tell its almost 900 million active users what names they can and cannot use. He noted that victims of abuse or even teachers might chose to use aliases because they don’t want people to contact them.