A superhero’s secret identity is paramount to his (or her) safety. Or at least many seem to think so. The scourge that is Facebook is putting many of those secret identities in jeopardy…that is, if superheroes want to keep voluntarily using Facebook’s free services.
Recently Facebook has started to crackdown on fake names. According to its terms of service, you must not provide false information and you have to keep your information accurate and up-to-date. Your user name must closely relate to your actual name. If your superhero name is “Super-ninja crime-puncher,” there’s a good chance it doesn’t closely relate to your actual name…unless you have really weird parents.
In addition to real-life superheroes, it also affects drag queens, artists, performers, wrestlers, and entertainers. Even if nobody knows you by your legal name, Facebook terms dictate you use it for your profile.
The Seattle superhero community has not gone unaffected. The most high-profile superhero to have his Facebook account deactivated is Phoenix Jones.
His “fan page” is still up. Facebook is encouraging people that fall into this category to set up fan pages if they would like a presence on Facebook with their non-legal alias.
Another Seattle-area superhero that was caught in the fake-name sting was SkyMan.
When attempting to log in to his Facebook account recently, SkyMan found himself locked out. A screen comes up telling him it appears he is not using his name. That same screen also instructed him to send a picture of photo ID and list his real name. After a weekend of working at that, his account was back, but with his full legal name on it. SkyMan found the whole situation irritating.
The strange thing about SkyMan was that he actually had his real name before the big crackdown. He just also had “SkyMan” in the middle of his name. For clarification purposes, “SkyMan” is not his legal middle name. However, he did have his real first and last name. But after the crackdown, he now has his entire full name, real middle names and all on his Facebook profile, just not “SkyMan.”
This was not the first time something of this nature happened to SkyMan. About 6 months ago, he had to change his Facebook name from “SkyMan TriColoredCrusader,” a name he had for 2 years. However, now the change to his full real name is permanent and he was informed that if he changed his name, his account would be deactivated.
In the superhero community as a whole, the battle between Facebook and the assumed right to have a superhero name has raged on for a while. Like SkyMan before, many have had to deal with potential account deactivation due to their superhero name. Rumors of “real-life super villains” reporting hero’s profiles ran rampant. Many superheroes have tried to fly under the radar by choosing realistic sounding fake names that alluded to their superhero persona. The results have been mixed.
There has been a call to action. This petition has made the rounds. Since this policy also affects many in the LGBTQ community, there has been a rally to the cause to combined efforts. Florida-based “Old Superhero,” who strangely has his mother’s name on his Facebook profile now, made a video encouraging superheroes to stand alongside drag queens in the quest for justice.