Facebook wants you to snitch on friends that aren’t using real names

 Facebook changes users' default email to @facebook.com address

Designed to weed out anyone on Facebook that’s using a pseudonym over a real name, the social network rolled out a method of name verification several month ago using third parties. According to TPM, Facebook uses a pop-up window to survey users on the validity of their friend’s names. Hoping that friends will snitch on each other, Facebook is attempting to collect the data to gain a “better understanding of our ecosystem” according to a Facebook representative. However, it’s definitely possible that the data could eventually be used to identify specific accounts that are violating Facebook’s Name policy.

facebook snitchWithin the pop-up survey, Facebook states “Please help us understand how people are using Facebook. Your response is anonymous and won’t affect your friend’s account. Is this your friend’s real name?” The window also displays the user’s profile picture, name and current location. The Facebook user can choose between four answers: “Yes, No, I don’t know this person and I don’t want to answer.”

According to Facebook’s official policy on names, users are required to use their real name as it would appear on a credit card or identification card. Nicknames are allowed, assuming the nickname applies to the first or middle name. Under account settings, a Facebook user can also add an alternate name which could be an extended nickname or a maiden name before a woman getting married. Professional additions to names should also be added to the alternate name section rather than changing the main account name.

When asked about the data, a Facebook representative told TPM that the data is completely anonymized. The representative stated “This isn’t so we can go and get that person in trouble. None of our surveys are used for any enforcement action. Basically, what this model does is help better inform us in how to classify different types of accounts. Just because we’re showing a question about a particular user doesn’t mean we suspect them of anything. The user is chosen by a system.”

Regarding the use of fake names, Facebook policy very plainly states “we remove fake accounts from the site as we find them.” Assuming the snitching data isn’t actually being used for enforcement, then Facebook is clearly ignoring the official policy despite finding users with fake names. According to Facebook’s internal estimates, approximately 8.7 percent of the 955 million user accounts are fake. Nearly 46 million are duplicate accounts, 23 million are classified incorrectly and about 14 million have been created by “undesirable” people like spammers.

Last year, Google had to quickly revise the company’s police on fake names in respect to Google+. Rather than asking a user to alter their nickname or pseudonym, Google simply deleted the accounts without notifying the user. Shortly after an uproar from influential Google+ users, Google+ vice president Bradley Horowitz said that the policy would be revised to include a warning process before actually suspending the account. In addition,  Google added a section in the Google+ profile for other names. Similar to Facebook’s alternate name section, Google+ users can use this section to display a nickname, maiden name or professional title.


Data stolen from HealthCare.gov includes partial SSNs and immigration status

Around 75,000 users have had their user data stolen from government site healthcare.gov, including information on their immigration status, whether they were pregnant, and partial social security numbers.

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.

These 30 useful apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find for the latest MacOS and how they can help out your…
Social Media

LinkedIn gets serious about video with Vimeo integration

LinkedIn is gaining new video options thanks to integration with Vimeo. The new agreement allows for native uploads with further reaching, along with bringing tools like video analytics.
Social Media

Twitter tests home screen button that offers more control of your timeline

Twitter recently relaunched its reverse-chronological timeline, but accessing it means diving into settings. Now the company is testing a button on the main screen that lets you switch between the two different styles of timeline.
Social Media

Snapchat’s PR firm is suing an influencer for failing to influence

Snapchat's PR firm is suing a social media influencer for his alleged failure to promote Spectacles on Instagram. Actor Luka Sabbat was paid $45,000 upfront, but the suit claims he fell well short of the terms of the deal.

Urban legends for the digital age: The best scary stories from the internet

In need of some simple scares this Halloween? We've combed the internet for the best creepypastas, urban legends, and scary stories. From found footage YouTube videos to a deceptively scary wiki, these stories are sure to spook.

WhatsApp finally gives in to the lure of cash-generating ads

WhatsApp's co-founders always said their messaging app would never show ads, but once the pair quit the company, it seemed inevitable that its owner, Facebook, would find a way to incorporate them.

Shazam hooks up with Instagram Stories for another way to share songs

The latest update for Apple-owned Shazam lets iPhone users share music tracks to Instagram Stories in a few quick taps. To enable the feature, just make sure you have the latest version of Shazam loaded on your handset.
Social Media

Dine and dash(board): Make a Yelp reservation from your car’s control panel

Already in the car, but can't decide where to eat? Yelp Reservations can now be added to some dashboard touchscreens. Yelp Reservations searches for restaurants within 25 miles of the vehicle's location.

Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says

Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions. 

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. You're in luck -- we've gathered 23 of the best subreddits to help…
Social Media

Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal

Facebook has opened pop-up stores at multiple Macy's, though they're not selling Facebook's new Portal device. Instead, they're showcasing small businesses and brands that are already popular on Facebook and Instagram.