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Friday, September 19, 2014

Facebook Will Delete All Drag Queen Profiles in 2 Weeks

Posted By on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 at 7:06 AM

click to enlarge drag.png
Things seemed to be looking up for the embattled drag queens of San Francisco after a small army of them met with Facebook executives on Wednesday afternoon.

Sure, the meeting had been postponed, a protest planned at the company's Menlo Park headquarters had been foregone, and Facebook didn't agree to change its "real name" policy — a security measure that resulted in the mass eradication of drag queen profiles, since most of the performers don't use their legal surnames.

But the meeting itself seemed like a victory, and a sign of how much traction a few queens could get by spreading their message (and a catchy hashtag) over social media. Supervisor David Campos, who helped push the queens' #MyNameIs campaign, predicted more discussion down the line.

Perhaps we began celebrating prematurely. Yesterday, several media outlets published a statement from Facebook spokesman Andrew Souvall, who said the company was offering drag queens and other avatar-users a 2-week grace period, during which they could switch over to their real names, or convert their Facebook profile into a fan page. In the meantime, the social network agreed to reactivate hundreds of drag profiles that had been deleted.
Needless to say, leaders of the #MyNameIs protest were not pleased.

"While at first glance this seems like a grand show of support for our community, it is actually a completely hollow gesture," drag performer Sister Roma wrote in her recap of the Wednesday meeting — ironically posted on Facebook. She deemed the real-name policy "unfair and discriminatory," and pushed anew for a protest at the company headquarters.

A blogger at the Daily Dot suggested, however, that Facebook's policy might be purely profit-driven. If the company obliges performers to shunt their profiles over to fan pages, it will have an excuse to shill special fan-page features like sponsored content

In some ways, that's even more sordid. Maybe Facebook doesn't care about identity, at all; it only cares about turning humans into commodities.

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.

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