Cross-post from you-know-where.
Just for the record. If you know Mike aka Twist Firebeard, and follow him on other sites, you probably know that he's been booted from Facebook AGAIN, after they let him back on following their partial back-down on the 'real names' policy. And they're following the same line of "send us such and such documentation or you don't get back on."
Now, a lot has been made of Facebook's right to do this. That's difficult to argue against. What one might also ponder, though, is that if Facebook were a business associate, it would be one of those who makes you jump through hoops on some kind of schedule known only to its own mind. Yesterday I wanted the files sorted THIS way, today I'm annoyed that you didn't do it the OTHER way; tomorrow, well, who knows. Each time I tell you what to do, I insist it's for such and such valid reason, but if you track my reasoning over time, you'll discover it's self-contradictory and kind of nutty.
The fact that those asking Mike to prove his identity don't seem to have any clue that he was let back on a couple of weeks ago having done exactly that, calls attention to Facebook's problems as a data warehouse. If legal names are needed to guard against pseudonymous harassment and "knowing who you're talking to," Facebook would have a good argument for continuing their hard line ... even if it cost them business. But even if legal names were actually a matter of making sure Facebook knows who it's selling to advertisers, the inability of the system, following a block/add like Mike's, to note "okay, now we know, such and such alias is 'really' so and so legal name, quit wasting time on this one," suggests some real gaps.
With all the instances of online identity and credit theft lately, Facebook seems less and less to be an entity that I would want to share my legal identity with. When I did my name change a few weeks ago, it was to highlight the ease with which I could become one of the targets. The fact that I have not been blocked over the course of several weeks highlights the ways that the 'real names' policy got punked by some anti-queer agitators. I happen not to have been on the radar. Such luck-of-the-draw behavior isn't awesome in a multi-billion-dollar entity (which specializes in DATA!)
Oh, and by the way: I cannot currently change my name BACK to my legal one, because my original name change is too recent. You're stuck with my jokey play on "My Favorite Things" for a while longer.
And yeah, I'm posting this on Facebook. If I were concerned about my bank account being hacked, the other users of that bank might be good people to discuss it with, rather than the users of some other bank.