Facebook's Real Name Policy and Its Ethical Implications

Overview image of Facebook's Real Name Policy and Its Ethical Implications
  • Portfolio piece: #6
  • Published: 2016
  • Created for: University of Maryland, University College (IFSM 304 Ethics in Information Technology)
  • Capabilities: ethics, policy, social media, culture, language, writing, research

This project is available for download as a PDF.

This project was a two-part case study for an ethics course I took in Fall 2016.

The first segment instructed students to consider a key IT-related ethical issue regarding privacy and to complete a matrix map for three normative ethics principles. The second segment directed students to use the information of the first paper to write a policy that would mitigate the ethical dilemma; the policy needed to address the purpose, scope, policy points, and policy enforcement.

I selected Facebook’s “real name” policy as the focus for my ethics analysis. While Facebook professes its name policy is fair and that users are permitted to represent themselves with an authentic name that may not match their legal name exactly, the policy introduces an ethical dilemma in its implementation, especially with regard to confidentiality, non-maleficence, and understanding. I followed-up by writing an example policy for names on Facebook that addressed the real-world issues cited in my matrix map and analysis.