Change.org hosts a Second Life petition aimed at the Facebook Creator Mark Zuckerberg, asking Facebook to allow Second Life avatars to have a page on the popular social networking website. The Petition named ‘Allow Second Life Avatars to have a Facebook Page’ states with the growing business within Second Life, avatars should be allowed to use Facebook without having to use or give real life information, they state:
“There is a whole world of designers who use Second life as their tool of business, and Facebook to advertise to the Second life consumers. If Linden Labs can recognize linden currency with a world currency value , then we should be recognized as using our Second Life names as our “Stage names””
This comes in contrast to Facebook’s ‘Real Name’ Policy, which states:
You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission. You will not create more than one personal account.
The main complaint of the petition is from a business point of view, the petition argues:
“We as fashion designers of Second Life, put our real life time and real life efforts into our business and we collect real life funds.”
We are clothing designers & we ask for rights to conduct our advertising in Facebook.
Facebook policy asks that “You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain” but recommends the use of ‘Facebook Page for such purposes‘.
This is not a new confrontation between Second Life users and Facebook, in 2011 Facebook begun deleting avatar profiles due to the real name policy, this of course caused an uproar with in Second Life community. Ultimately the Lindens, the creators of Second Life, put forth the idea of using Facebook pages as a way to get around this ban.
Within the petition, an example given was an article that reported a controversy surrounded the use of a stage name of drag act, Lil Miss Hot Mess took Facebook to court over the removal of their profile and won. A petition was also started at that time to allow performers to use their stage name within their profiles, in this case once again Facebook recommended the use of a fan page.
Why is this such a big deal? Why are there so many issues surrounding Second Life users and Facebook? Well, Facebook is all about being known, they are not the prime place for anonymity, some Second Life users like being anonymous. Unfortunately this becomes difficult if you are the owner of a Second Life based business, and want to stay anonymous on a social networking site that is all about knowing your information. Some users not only want to be anonymous to their customers but to their hosting site as well. An Interview with the petition’s creator, Frijolita Avalira, she shines a lot of insight into this topic: She comments
“The core issue of the petition, is that when you have a Facebook account for your second life avatar, they will ban you if you cannot prove your name, whilst some people have no problem providing their real names & connecting real and SL Facebooks, others simply want to maintain privacy. I have several close friends whom have been disabled regularly, one of them even so much as every single week he tries to make a new account for the sole purpose of advertising.”
She continues clarifying that she meant Facebook Profiles and not Facebook Pages, she states:
“If i get banned, all of my access to the groups I am in and my personal fan pages are deleted as well.”
On the subject of advertising and marketing on Facebook she comments:
“I don’t think Second Life [users] should have to get around paying to advertise, but we don’t have to pay for advertising now, unless you want a post to reach more people. There is a wide world of Second Life designers, using groups to advertise their clothing brands and every time they delete us, because a flag arises – trust me this is happening every single day – we have to start all over again. I simply want Facebook to recognize my avatar’s profile as a stage name, there are some very demented people in Second Life, who stalk & harass you to no end, I would NEVER connect my real life name to my Second Life public account.”
Avalira finishes the interview, stating that she understands the reasons behind the real name policy and why Facebook has it, but she still thinks, Zuckerberg should have his own realization:
“Mark Zuckerberg needs to realize that it should be taken into consideration instead of mass deleting. If my personal avatar is able to make money & trade money & pay taxes, then she should also be able to have a Facebook account. That’s simply what I want. Will I win? Probably not. Will I always fight for what I believe? Definitely so. 793 people have signed this petition. I think second life business accounts should be recognized, as long as you’re doing something productive with your account, whether its designing, organizing events, DJing, Charity fundraising, Scripting, Building.. whatever. If you’re just trolling then you don’t need to have a Facebook account for your avatar.
I organized an event that earned 330,000 Lindens for Japan after the earthquake & Tsunami in 2011. People do this kind of thing all the time in Second Life. We operate as real people doing real things & these productive amazing people should be allowed to use Facebook to communicate with Second Life’s virtual world. Well then these are the reasons I will fail, but like I said, I will still try, because I believe in it & if trangendered can have stage names then why can’t we? And If they delete me i will just make another, he will never have my real name on this account.”
Both sides have made good points but ultimately it is up to the users of Second Life and any other virtual world to make up their own minds about this topic.
Click here to check out the petition for yourself.