Christina Wolfgram
November 21, 2015 11:49 am

One 23-year-old Australian man is challenging Facebook’s “real name” policy in the best way. His name is Phuc Dat Bich, and his account has been shut down multiple times because people mistakenly pronounced his full name according to English phonetics instead of Vietnamese. If anyone had simply asked Phuc how his name is pronounced, he would have told them it’s “Phoop Duk Bic” with an emphasis on “Duk.” (You can learn more about Vietnamese name pronunciation from this awesome YouTube video.)

In January, Phuc published a passionate plea on his Facebook, saying that it’s “highly irritating” that people challenge his legal name. “I’ve been accused of using a false and misleading name of which I find very offensive,” he said. “Is it because I’m Asian? Is it?”

His post included a photo of his passport to prove that Phuc Dat Bich is not some kind of joke account; it is a real name of a real person who deserves to be treated with respect. So many people related to the post that now it has been shared over 80,000 times.

Chris Cox, who is a Chief Product Officer at Facebook (and ironically has a homonym for a last name that could also be flagged), recently posted that the social media company hears the complaints of people whose names have been flagged by the “real name” policy. Originally, this policy was created to protect users from fake accounts, bullying, and identity theft.

“The process we follow has been to ask the flagged accounts to verify they are using real names by submitting some form of ID — gym membership, library card, or piece of mail,” Chris wrote. “We’ve had this policy for over 10 years, and until recently it’s done a good job of creating a safe community without inadvertently harming groups like what happened here.”

In the post, he acknowledged that Facebook is working on ways to investigate flagged accounts without immediately shutting them down. “We’re taking measures to provide much more deliberate customer service to those accounts that get flagged so that we can manage these in a less abrupt and more thoughtful way,” he wrote. This will also prevent people’s accounts from being shut down if they are flagged as a cruel prank.
Hopefully, these changes and awesome people like Phuc pointing out flaws in the system will make the Internet a better place. One step at a time!

Related reading:

Facebook is changing up its name policy in a big way (and that’s a good thing)

This woman officially changed her name, all because of Facebook

(Images via Facebook and Giphy.)

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