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Facebook discriminates against Native Americans with traditional cultural names


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(NaturalNews) The "inclusive" social media giant Facebook is once again caught in controversy, this time with company censors denying a Native American woman access when she tried to register using her traditional name.

As reported by Britain's Daily Mail, Brenna Happy Cloud of Salem, Oregon, has accused Facebook of discrimination after the social site prevented her from continuing to use her name. Happy Cloud said she was suddenly locked out of her account recently and received the same message each time she tried to log in for five days.

She typically posted about five or six times per day. Losing access to her more than 1,000 online friends and contacts, photos and messages was difficult for her.

"I was gone, and the world didn't know where I was," she told local news affiliate Fox12.

Eventually, the Facebook help desk contacted Happy Cloud and asked her to provide proof of identity, including a copy of her Social Security card. In order to get her account reactivated, she had to change her screen name back to her married name, Rojas, even though she is no longer with her husband.

"Other people can use their nicknames, inappropriate names, but I can't use my real name," she told the local affiliate. "It kind of hurts a little bit."

She also says she believes her Native American heritage has been besmirched by this ordeal and Facebook's discriminatory policies.

"Discriminatory and dangerous"

In September, Quartz noted that the social media giant had begun to vigorously enforce its name policy, requiring all users to provide their real names as "listed on your credit card, driver's license or student ID." Facebook had long required users to use real names, but the site came under fire for disabling the profile of San Francisco LGBT activist and drag queen Sister Roma, forcing her to post under "Michael Williams," her real name.

The outrage on social media was immediate. A Change.gov petition garnered thousands of signatures demanding that Facebook change its policy. Facebook representatives met with members of the LGBT and drag communities in a bid to quell the unrest. Regardless of the outcome, Quartz reported that people's lives were impacted, some of them greatly. Happy Cloud's experience shows that little has changed.

"I should know. I haven't been able to use my personal profile on Facebook since Aug. 27 when it was shut down," wrote Yitz Jordan for Quartz.

Hiding identities to protect themselves

Jordan was victimized by Facebook for using his Hebrew name, Yitz. He, too, was forced to provide Facebook censors with identification, but he was eventually forced to revert back to his birth name because the censors felt that Yitz was a "religious title." No longer able to connect with his online friends, Jordan eventually took down his profile photo.

Jordan noted that the policy is both endangering and discriminatory:

The impact of Facebook's name policy is not limited to the LGBT or faith-based community. Young job seekers have long turned to modified forms of their names to hide personal profiles from prospective employers, not surprising considering that 70% of hiring managers in 2010 reported rejecting candidates due to information obtained via social media. Some Facebook users reported being locked out even when using their legal names: Chase Nahooikaikakeolamauloaokalani Silva of Hawaii had his middle name shortened to "N" when Facebook declared his given name to be fraudulent (too many "repeating characters," maybe?).

A San Francisco therapist said that he refused to use his real name so his patients could not see his profile.

The discrimination continues, as does the endangerment. The best solution might be to simply abandon the site to its own devices.






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