A woman has changed her name to a “stupid” pseudonym that she used on Facebook, in an attempt to get back into her locked account. But the trick hasn’t worked — and she’s stuck with the name Jemmaroid von Laalaa.
Previously known as Jemma Rogers, von Laalaa set up the account in 2008. She used the pseudonym so that she would be more difficult to find on the site, and so avoid annoying requests from people that she didn’t want to be friends with.
But Facebook requires that all people on the site use their real name. As such, the woman then known as Rogers has officially become Jemmaroid von Laalaa in an apparently failed attempt to keep access to the account.
Facebook’s real name policy has been criticised by everyone by groups including drag performers, Native Americans and political activists. The network claims that it helps keep users secure, by making sure that everyone on it is associated with their real identity, but opponents say that it can cause distress and danger by forcing people to identify themselves publicly.
The policy requires that people on Facebook use the name that appears on official documents, like their credit card or birth certificate. In accordance with that policy, the site contacted the woman then known as Jemma Rogers to ask that she provide proof of her name.
To avoid losing access to the account, she rushed to edit her bank cards so that they had her Facebook name on them. But one day later, the site suspended her account so that she couldn’t log in.
To try and win back her account, which has messages and pictures stored in it, von Laalaa took the step of officially changing her name by deed poll.
But despite changing the name, Facebook won’t let her back in to her account. They have only sent automated responses saying that they’ll “look into” her problem, she says.
"I can't believe I'm stuck with this stupid name and I still can't get into my Facebook,” said von Laalaa.
"I know I've been a completely moron, but Facebook are being ridiculous,” von Laalaa said. “I've been locked out of my account for five weeks now and have lost all of my photos, messages and precious memories.
"So many people set up accounts in fake names so random people can't add them or so they don't have to awkwardly decline requests from people they know but don't want to be 'friends' with.
"But Facebook have been over the top, they should be able to tell it's a genuine account but just under a fake name, I can't believe I am being punished like this."
Facebook stood by its real name policy, but said that it had made a mistake in not reactivating the account.
“Facebook asks people to use their authentic names, as we believe this makes people more accountable for what they say," said a Facebook spokesperson. "In this instance we made a mistake but we reactivated the account last week. We apologise for any inconvenience that this caused."
Additional reporting by agencies
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies