How many of you have friends that don’t use their real name on Facebook? Perhaps you do this yourself. If you’re like most people, a decent portion of your friends list has people swapping out their last names for their middle names. This all seems harmless enough, right?
Well, if you didn’t know, Facebook is rather unhappy with all of you using fake names! That’s because the less they know about their users, the more difficult it is for them to monetize their services. Social media companies have successfully leveraged Facebook to obtain sales for their clients, but Facebook itself is at a difficult crossroads when it comes to bringing in revenue.
Facebook’s goal is to be your official identity on the web. Eventually, they would like to be the main hub through which you do your banking or any other official business, including voting. However, this is impossible if people are using anything other than their real name. If the name you use on Facebook varies from the one on your credit card, this hurts Facebook’s business model. If advertisers can’t get an accurate reading on you and users like you, what good is Facebook to them?
While it’s Facebook’s official policy that you must use your legal name, it’s impossible to track, especially if your alias sounds like a real name. Currently, it is believed that 83 million Facebook users are spam accounts or duplicates made by people who want to keep certain aspects of their online lives private. It will be interesting to see in light of how poorly Facebook has done since its IPO how they’ll be able to turn things around and get the confidence from advertisers they so desperately need.