Two down, zero to go. Bye Facebook.

My two Facebook accounts were knocked down in two days.

I have used the first for several years without problem; just two days ago I was informed by FB that my account was “temporarily locked due to security reasons”.

Since a good part of my online communications, personal and work, are handled on that platform and I didn’t know what the “security reasons” are (it could be just someone attacked it and FB had to suspend it to keep it safe, I understand that), I activated a backup account and bring back hundreds of followers overnight.

That means I am a real person, and I have my own credibility that people appreciate and trust.

Later researches and mail conversations revealed that the “security reason” was that I was not using real name on that account and I was probably reported someone who doesn’t like me.

I don’t like anyone to enforce “real name policy” since people have the right to choose who and how others see them and, moreover, become a personality beyond what their ID can say about them.

In fact, I didn’t even have this problem on social networks in some communist countries.

(Yes, they know who you are, but at least for now they did not force you to reveal your identity to the public.)

In an email conversation with Facebook, I told them that I have used my pen name (or “fake identity” as they call it) for over 20 years and you can know even more about the real me by that.

To prove myself, I uploaded an ID image with some information blacked out and wrote the mail. Here it goes:

Hi,

As I have uploaded my ID image, I have a few things to say.

  1. I am a legit user of FB without infringing any right of other people. If you have to suspend my account for any reason, I think I have the right to know why.
  2. I use my English and Chinese pen names/aliases that I have used for over 20 years that did not attempt to impersonate anyone or to make any confusion. Like many writers (and most Taiwanese who chose to use informal English name on FB), I would like to keep my real-life identity secret and please respect that.
  3. Aside from the above, I use real last English last name, real personal photos and approximate date of birth (but real year) for the same reason.

Again, I don’t think I have any reason to be suspended for “security” issues. If I do, please let me know what it is and listen to my side of story.

So there are three things to know in this incident:

  1. Faceboook demands real identity information.
  2. I didn’t use my legal identity.
  3. I was deliberately reported twice.

For 1, I strongly disagree but still respect that. It’s not easy to run an online nation with a billion people, among them many branded thieves, conmen and deceivers.

For 2, I think it’s also my right that deserves some respect, and I am not going to compromise.

In fact, in Taiwan, a country where English is not yet official, over 90% (I guess) “English names” of Facebook members are informal, not legally registered or “fake”. People get along with the names and Facebook tolerates them as long as they’re not reported.

For 3, there are some political disputes in Taiwan and some people are trying to eliminate voices on the Internet, especially on Facebook – a popular discussion platform in Taiwan.

While I consider myself as a mild, reasonable liberal, some people might think I am influential for being a mild, reasonable liberal, and this made me a target to someone who think otherwise.

This happened before my accounts were locked up, and I am not willing to connect this with the incident. However I could not imagine why my accounts were suspended in two days without being reported as Facebook is so open-minded to millions of others.

I really don’t mind that my accounts are gone and I respect Facebook’s decision; what I really concern is that it’s so easy to knock down a legit account under Facebook’s highly secure, privacy-oriented system.

As a writer, Internet activist and a mild, reasonable liberal using a forged identity online for two decades, I am not going to compromise. I’ll choose to leave the virtual empire with more stringent law enforcement than a real one.

Thanks Facebook, and good luck.


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