News: Social networking giant also launched new local services site.
Facebook has launched new tools to support its controversial ‘real names’ policy and has entered the local services market with the launch of a new site.
Recent debate over Facebook’s ‘real name’ policy culminated this week with Facebook announcing that it would be testing new features to make the policy easier for users.
New tools tested this week will aim to reduce the number of people asked to verify their name on Facebook when using a name they are known by and to make it easier for people to confirm their name if necessary.
This includes a new version of the names reporting system requiring people to provide context about the name they are reporting, and a new way for people to describe special circumstances when verifying their name.
The policy had provoked controversy because people felt there were genuine circumstances when using another name was valid, such as when people had suffered domestic abuse.
The social networking site reiterated that it is "firmly committed" to the policy of "requiring people to use the name their friends and family know them by."
This is because, according to Facebook, "when people use the names they are known by, their actions and words carry more weight because they are more accountable for what they say. It also makes it harder for bullies to anonymously smear the reputations of others, or anyone else to use an anonymous name to harass, scam or engage in criminal behaviour."
Facebook also this week launched a new site which sits within the main Facebook domain, allowing users to specify their location and find services near them within a range of categories.
These include both consumer and business-oriented services. Each entry includes a star rating, reviews and contact details.
The popular site Yelp as well as some of Facebook’s rivals, Google and LinkedIn, provide similar offerings for local services.