Just in time for Yom Kippur, Facebook has made public apologies over two recent controversies.
The first deals with its recent decision not to allow drag queens to use their stage names for their Facebook personal pages. The company said that it was only enforcing its already existing policy of requiring all of its members to use only their only their legal names.
This led to a public protest by a number of drag queens in san Francisco.
Facebook announced that it would allow the drag queens to continue to use their stage names and the company’s chief product officer issued a public apology to the LGBT community as a whole.
“I want to apologize to the affected community of drag queens, drag kings, transgender, and extensive community of our friends, neighbors, and members of the LGBT community for the hardship that we’ve put you through in dealing with your Facebook accounts over the past few weeks.
“In the two weeks since the real-name policy issues surfaced, we’ve had the chance to hear from many of you in these communities and understand the policy more clearly as you experience it. We’ve also come to understand how painful this has been. We owe you a better service and a better experience using Facebook, and we’re going to fix the way this policy gets handled so everyone affected here can go back to using Facebook as you were, ” he said.
The other apology from the company was over the controversial mood changing experiment that it had conducted over the summer. Facebook members who were used as guinea pigs for the study were never informed about it. 689, 000 people were included in the study which tested their reactions to different positive and negative postings placed on their timelines.
But it seems that Facebook was really only sorry about the fallout and not for taking advantage of its users without either their knowledge or consent.
In a blog post, the company’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer stated that, “it is clear now we should have done things differently. We’re committed to doing research to make Facebook better, but we want to do it in the most responsible way”
Its CEO Sheryl Sandberg said, “This was part of ongoing research companies do to test different products, and that was what it was; it was poorly communicated.”
Lets just hope that Facebook learns from its mistakes and does better by its members in the future.
In the spirit of the Ten Day of Repentance everyone should accept these apologies and move on.