When receiving a friendship request on Facebook, from that relative who is a little unhappy or the colleague that is spying, we always think twice about it before clicking “accept”. Social media are now an integral part of our lives, which can be both fulfilling and destructive. Perhaps it’s better that the boss doesn’t see the photographs of that party we were at before an important meeting. For many people, the solution is simple: using a fake identity profile.
New survey reports that in the United States more and more users, especially young people, choose to create a fake identity profile. The phenomenon is so widespread that it already has a name: Finstagram, which unites “Instagram” with “fake” or “false”. In many cases, the fake identity profile is not the only account, but a private duplicate intended to be used only with a small circle of select friends.
Behind this choice lies the need to carve out a space that is free from inhibitions, a social sphere in which to publish more silly and spontaneous photographs than those shared on the account open to everyone. Instagram is the social favorite of young people, and in Italy the number of users continues to grow.
In our community, the majority of users are under 35, and it is clear that teenagers like Instagram much more than Facebook. But for the moment the idea of using it to share images with as many people as possible still prevails: after all, it was born for this. It cannot be excluded that our country suffers from a certain delay compared to the Anglo-Saxon world, also because the goliardic component is far from absent. On Instagram many prefer a playful and disengaged behavior under their fake identity profile, but to exchange images or messages which are more foolish or private, we mainly use messaging systems such as Whatsapp.
In Italy, the phenomenon of social anonymity is widespread mainly on Facebook. It is impossible to know how many of the 27 million users who are active monthly in our country (as of November 2015) have chosen to use a fake identity. What is clear is that none of them seems to care much about the official social network policy, which reads unequivocally: “Facebook is a community where people use their authentic identities”.
“The subscribers must provide the name they use in real life so that everyone always knows with whom they are connecting,” explains Laura Bononcini, Head of Policy at Facebook Italia. This helps safeguard the safety of our community by making people more responsible, and helping us remove accounts created for malicious purposes such as harassment, fraud or incitement to hatred. According to the regulations, updated in 2015, it is possible to register with a name other than that with which you are registered in the registry, provided that it is “with which you identify yourself most and that you use it in your daily life”. For us – says Bononcini – it is very important that this identity policy works for everyone, and in particular for the discriminated communities “. One example is transsexual people, who can subscribe to Facebook with the name they like to hear, even if it does not correspond to what is on their identity card.
This story was originally published here.