Facebook is moving away from its long-held requirement of using “real names”. Meta, the parent company of the world’s largest social media platform, could gradually allow users to maintain up to five profiles, all tied to a single Facebook account.
Meta issued a statement via email to TechCrunch, in which Facebook spokesperson Leonard Lam said:
To help people tailor their experience based on interests and relationships, we’re testing a way for people to have more than one profile tied to a single Facebook account. Anyone who uses Facebook must continue to follow our rules.
All the additional profiles, barring the primary one, don’t need to include the user’s real name. Users will be able to choose any profile name and username, as long as it is unique. Special characters and numbers will not be allowed in the profile name. A user’s main profile, however, must still use the name they use in everyday life, insisted Facebook.
The new profiles must not misrepresent the identity of the primary account holder. Moreover, users shall not attempt to impersonate others. Any user that’s found violating the rules while creating and using the additional profiles will suffer an adverse impact on the primary account.
Facebook hasn’t indicated how or if it will penalize first-time offenders. However, repeat-offenders risk termination of one or all profiles, including a temporary suspension or permanent ban of the main account. The social media giant apparently has internal systems to recognize which profile is violating rules, and is being trained to “take appropriate action”.
Some aspects such as creating and managing a Page or using Facebook Dating are limited to the main profile. In other words, users are forbidden from attempting to date multiple people using different profiles.
Facebook is allowing multiple profiles to help users maintain different personas for specific groups they want to connect with. In other words, users can easily keep their personal accounts, meant for family and friends, away from their professional colleagues and acquaintances. Additionally, users could be able to better organize their passions, likes, and content.
Meta has confirmed that the multiprofile feature won’t alter how it reports user metrics, such as monthly and daily active user totals. The company is currently testing the feature with a select few users in certain countries. As this is an experimental feature, it is possible that Facebook might even scrap the idea, presumably if it feels there are more risks than benefits.