Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended his company’s “real name” policy against accusations of being discriminatory toward vulnerability communities on Tuesday.
The company’s policy requires users to go by their real names on the social network, which has drawn criticism from transgender people, drag queens, Native Americans, domestic violence survivors and others who say the policy prevents them from being true to their identities and, in some cases, puts them at risk of physical harm offline.
But during a Facebook Q&A with BuzzFeed, Zuckerberg said many critics don’t understand the exact details of Facebook’s requirement, MONEY reports.
“There is some confusion about what our policy actually is,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Real name does not mean your legal name. Your real name is whatever you go by and what your friends call you. If your friends all call you by a nickname and you want to use that name on Facebook, you should be able to do that.
In fact, Zuckerberg said safety is one of the main concerns behind the policy. He wrote that requiring real names makes users less likely to act abusive towards one another and that the policy could prevent users from creating fake profiles to contact and their victims. Still, he acknowledged that Facebook would be taking steps to make sure the site and its policies were inclusive of certain marginalized communities. “We are working on better and more ways for people to show us what their real name is,” he wrote, “so we can both keep this policy which protects so many people in our community while also serving the transgender community.”