Facebook cracks down on Trump supporters with 'deplorable' names

LinkedIn co-founder challenges Trump to release tax returns
LinkedIn co-founder challenges Trump to release tax returns

Donald Trump fans are learning that fake names don't fly on Facebook.

The social media company is forcing users who include "deplorable" in their profile names to change them because it violates Facebook's Terms of Service.

Some Trump supporters have embraced the moniker after Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton said "you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables." Clinton's comments last week criticized Trump and his supporters for their bigotry, specifically citing racism, sexism, and homophobia.

Philip Zito said he changed his name to include "deplorable" on Tuesday or Wednesday of last week (so it read "Deplorable Philip Zito"), and was contacted by Facebook about it on Saturday. On Monday, he said Facebook "asked nicely" if he would change his name back.

"I agreed to change it back believing they would suspend me if I didn't," Zito told CNNMoney. "I'll figure out another way of broadcasting my position."

Facebook's community standards require people to use their real names, and if Facebook suspects an account is violating these terms, users must provide documentation, like a driver's license, to confirm their identity. Facebook users can report others for violating the community standards.

Facebook has previously faced scrutiny for its real names policy. Some advocates, especially within the LGBT community, say the policy is discriminatory and potentially harmful to people who use pseudonyms. In late 2015, Facebook implemented changes to how people report fake names, and provided new options for people to claim and verify their identities.

If a user does not change his or her name or provide documentation confirming their identity, the account becomes inactive and the user loses access.

According to a Facebook spokesperson, "real names" are the identity friends and family know you by. If it's different from the name on your ID or birth certificate, additional forms of verification can include a magazine subscription or library card.

Facebook (FB) declined to give any information regarding how many people have been reported for changing their name to include "deplorable," but a Facebook search turned up hundreds of accounts using it. The news was first reported by the blog LawNewz.com.

"I changed it in solidarity with the rational people that pay attention to public affairs and would crawl over broken glass to vote against Hillary Clinton," Zito said. "The unsettling aspect of this is [Facebook's] similarity to a public utility and what appears to be an attempt to control speech."

Some Trump supporters have said they will quit Facebook in response.

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