More on this petition:
Facebook is threatening to delete the accounts of clergy who refuse to change their names. It is time to tell Facebook their policy has gone too far. My name is Abbot Tryphon and I am an Orthodox Christian monk. It may be difficult to believe, but Facebook has become an essential tool in fulfilling my ministry. Facebook connects me with 1,000’s of people who are in need of guidance. These are people who are facing bullying, abuse, addiction, and other hardships. Facebook is often the only way they feel comfortable reaching out. Almost everyday I get cries for help over Facebook. Now those cries are going unanswered and Facebook is threatening to delete my account. Over 30 years ago I gave up my given name and became Tryphon when I took my life vows in becoming an Orthodox Christian monk, and I haven’t used my birth name since. Even my own family calls me Abbot Tryphon. It was also the name I used when I started my Facebook account. Although I could prove who I was and that I was a legitimate member of the clergy, Facebook refused to reactivate my account. I was told I was prohibited from using Facebook until I used my given name. My story is not unique. Native Americans, other religious clergy, and even victims of violent crime, have been told they have to use their birth names to use Facebook. Facebook must change this policy. Without warning, one of my most powerful tools to help those in need was taken away. As a man of the cloth, it’s my duty to reach out to those who seek my guidance. I fear they believe I have abandoned them, or worse. My ability to centralize my daily blogs and podcasts is now gone, as is the ability to administer our monastery's Facebook page, until I get this resolved. Those impacted by the policy understand Facebook thinks it is protecting its users from people who would use an alias to do bad things. All we are asking is a fair process to allow the use of an alternative name when there is good evidence that this is the person's true identity. Facebook can both protect their users and allow us to honor our vows and traditions. Join us in asking Facebook to change their name policy to be fair to those who have legitimate reasons for not using their given name. The move would signal that Facebook is committed to a policy willing to evolve with its users.