Sunday, July 12, 2015

Facebook bans Ethiopian LGBT activist for using fake name

(July 12, 2015, (Gay Star News))--Facebook’s ‘real names’ policy is coming under fire again: an Ethiopian LGBTI activist had his account blocked Friday for having a false name. ‘HappyAddis’ checked his account Friday morning, only to discover he’d been blocked due to Facebook’s ‘real names’ policy.

The policy, which requires users to have their real name for security reasons, has been criticised before by drag queens who use Facebook to advertise their personalities. The activist used the pseudonym to create and administrate LGBTI groups in Ethiopia, where homosexuality is a crime and can lead to a 15-year prison sentence.

A spokesperson for Facebook told that users in HappyAddis’s situation have two options: they can either use a secret Facebook group, or a different social networking site. However, HappyAddis said this was not an option. He cannot use his real name given the threat of violence – as he would have to on a secret group – and Facebook is the most popular medium to reach other LGBTI Ethiopians.

The issue is affecting other Ethiopians who have developed a community online; none of these individuals can use their real names in case of violence. Read more from Gay Star News »

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