St. Clair ShoresAugust 28, 2013
No hiding online
City bans fake Facebook names
By Kristyne E. Demske
C & G Staff Writer
“It’s a little ambiguous,” she said at the Aug. 19 City Council meeting. “It encourages the use of real names (but) it gives you guidelines for using false names or custom names.”
“We really do depend upon users to be honest,” she said, acknowledging that it would be difficult for the city to actually vet every user of the site.
But while the added language prohibits users from posting under a false name, a username that includes a nickname and the person’s real last name is still allowed. Businesses, organizations and clubs can also still post under the name of that business, organization or club.
D’Herde said they would handle appeals on an individual basis, using the example of a user that was posting under a first and middle name to avoid stalking.
Councilman Peter Rubino said he brought this concern up when the page began.
“I think you should use your own name,” he said. “I think it should be across the board without exceptions. Everybody should use their real name.”
But Councilman Chris Vitale had a problem with the new verbiage, since there was no way to enforce it. He said by putting the policy in place prohibiting false names, it gives the impression the city has vetted all the names on its page and found them all to be legitimate.
“Wouldn’t it be better to have people who are obviously posting under obviously fake names” to continue, he asked. “People would know every statement made … (should be taken) with a grain of salt.”
“If we have a policy (banning false names) and we find out you are (using one), then we can ban that false name,” said Councilman Ron Frederick, a member of the Communications Commission. But, he conceded, “I guess they’ll just make another one anyway.
“I don’t think we’re actually codifying somebody who’s actually being that dastardly. This is sort of a way to give us a little teeth on our side.”
The language was approved by City Council 5-1, with Vitale opposed. Councilwoman Candice Rusie was absent.