What Happens When You Violate Facebook’s Real Name Policy
Last Friday I logged into my Facebook page to learn that someone had reported me for not using my "real name" on my profile. What seemed like a minor annoyance at first turned into a huge pain in the ass that had me locked out of my profile for the first time in seven years.
So this may or may not be news to you, but Tree is not my real name. I haven't gone by my real first name in 18 years, give or take. It takes me a couple seconds to even realize someone might be talking to me when they say my birth name, which isn't often, because most everyone knows me as Tree. Hell, you could ask some of my longtime friends what my real name is and you'd be met with a blank stare. In short -- I'm Tree.
There are a number of reasons I don't use my real name, one of them being so I can keep my radio life separate from my personal life. Apparently, that's not okay with Facebook. A few years back, they started a real name policy because too many fake accounts were hurting their stock prices. It is because of that, that I had to deal with a bunch of bullcrap. Just take a look through the hoops I had to jump through because someone reported me.
First they let me know someone, who was likely butthurt about a Trump joke I made, asked them to review my profile.
Next, they explained to me that I should use the name I "go by in everyday life" and what my "friends call me." For the record, the answer to both of those is Tree, and has been since I was 17.
Tree Riddle, by their own definition, is the name I use in everyday life. So the confirmation process begins.
Apparently, just telling them "yeah, that's my name" isn't good enough. They need photographic evidence. So I hit them up with screenshots of my author page on the Banana site and my Twitter profile.
After that they gave me access to my profile while they reviewed my submission. I figured that was the end of it.
Nope. A few hours later they logged me out and told me my documents weren't accepted, and to review what types of ID I can use to verify my name. These were my options.
That's right -- you need actual ID of some sort. Make sure your friends and family know that before calling you something else in everyday life. I resubmitted the same screenshots as before hoping to sneak by, and and was met with this message.
So for the following 24 hours, I could not log into my account. I started to worry that I was going to lose my profile, which holds seven years worth of memories and pictures of my kids and friends that I don't have anywhere else. Fortunately, I noticed I had a few emails from their support team from the initial review, which gave me a link to the support inbox, which I could not access otherwise. At this point, I was quite annoyed, and decided to draw a line in the sand -- they responded within the hour.
The most hilarious thing about the whole situation is that they actually asked me to rate my experience at the end. I only wish I had two more hands, so I could give their support team four thumbs down.
Now that all of that is resolved, I only have one lingering problem that still needs sorting. So now I'd like to offer the following prepared statement to the person that reported my page:
"I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom I can tell you I don't have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you leave my Facebook profile alone now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you, but if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you and I will troll the everliving f*** out of you for eternity."