Is Facebook about to shut down my account?

By | February 11th, 2016

Facebook wants documentation from Daniel Spannraft that he doesn’t have. Is his account about to be shut down?

Question: My wife and I have used a joint Facebook account for a number of years and like it. Yesterday, Facebook insisted that we change our account to a single name and send the scans of driver’s licenses, passports, and other IDs.

We do not know why they are not allowing a joint account, but would like to leave things the way they are. We also don’t want to send Facebook confidential information, including our IDs. Can you help us? — Daniel Spannraft, Winthrop Harbor, Ill.

Answer: Facebook’s policy on names is crystal clear: It doesn’t allow joint accounts.

When you signed up for Facebook, you agreed to its terms, so technically, the names on your account violated your agreement with the social network. Its demands for an ID was just a roundabout way of saying that unless you could prove there’s a person with you and your wife’s name, you would lose your account.

I checked with Facebook to verify that there hadn’t been a misunderstanding, and the policy is still in place. “We do not allow joint accounts on Facebook,” company spokesman William Nevius told me.

This is a particularly timely discussion, given the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday. Joint accounts are romantic. They signify an eternal bond between two people. They are also a terrible idea.

Why? Because couples break up. Divorces happen. People die. I’m sorry to sound so unromantic, but life happens. Do you really want to give up your entire social media or email account when that happens?

A joint account can be confusing to end users, too. They might wonder who they’re communicating with when they post something on your Facebook page or when they send you an email. Are they hearing back from Daniel or from his spouse?

This is one of my pet peeves. I receive emails almost every day from joint accounts, and it’s particularly frustrating when they don’t sign it, or when they leave a generic signature with both names. So if I hear from Bob and Mary Smith, and they sign the email “Bob and Mary Smith,” then who am I writing back to — Bob Smith or Mary Smith?

Bottom line: There are better ways of memorializing your love for each other than a joint social media account.

Many of Facebook’s policies are silly and arbitrarily enforced. This isn’t one of them. After learning that your account violated Facebook’s rules, you changed the name on your account. Problem solved.

  • polexia_rogue

    ” It doesn’t allow joint accounts.”
    that’s stupid.

    oh well. I don’t do fb but my husband does, to his account (under just his name) is ‘our’ account.

  • AAGK

    Just give up the account, especially if you are privacy conscious. This is Facebook! The whole point is to share private matters with other people. I’ve never had an account and am perfectly happy this way.

  • Rebecca

    I don’t do Facebook either. But it is actually a good policy. Say someone opens a “joint” account and says all sorts of offensive things. The other person doesn’t even know about it, like us since we don’t use it. Meanwhile, all those offensive things are going around as something we subscribed to.

  • just me

    Facebook is STUPID and your support for that stupidity with weak rationalization you just gave drops to that level.
    It should be none of their business!
    And demanding ID’s is equal to introducing the police state that we certainly will not support to any degree.
    Facebook begins to start such enforcement they may find themselves treated as the “state actor” and thus they will be forced to obey the Constitution. Where demanding an ID without legal support is a no allowed. Their policy is null and void – just another illegal boiler plate. Their lawyers do not have enough imagination what may happen to them afterwards.

  • JewelEyed

    Police state? Um. Nobody is forcing anyone to use Facebook. If you don’t like it, you can go to one of the other social media sites that almost no one is using by comparison. There is no constitutional right to Facebook.

  • James

    I figured this was about Facebook’s real name policy, where someone may be posting under an alias to protect their identify from past domestic violence or other reasons.

    Violet Blue, a security writer who also writes “adult content” has a good article about how she lost her facebook account:

  • Charles Owen

    There are numerous ways to do the same thing. Some of our relatives created a Facebook group. The postings are family postings. They still have individual accounts, but the group serves as what is effectively a joint account for them.

  • KennyG


  • just me

    You miss the point. It matters not what i wish to do – it matters what do they do.
    You have it backwards – you do not need constitutional right to Facebook or do you?. But if Facebook is found to be “state actor” – and there are certainly many elements meeting that – than the Constitution and other laws start applying.
    Facebook is a forum – and it is rather public forum given that earth’s population attends, they impose the laws, they have police and do enforce their laws, they dole out penalties for infractions – plain “state actor”. Takes one judge to find it so.

  • fairmont1955

    Another reason: personal data is what drives their ad revenue. Advertisers target based on gender, age, zip codes, what you’ve liked, age, phone number and email login, and postal address.
    Any of that can be targeted by advertisers. Joint accounts muck that up in a serious way, as does fake names, fake birth dates, etc.

  • fairmont1955

    Don’t like Facebook? Don’t use its free service.

  • fairmont1955

    This is something FB is aware of and is beginning to recognize can work against women (in particular) for safety reasons. In some cases, if the user provides a copy of a license or some other piece of legit ID to prove they are a real person, FB can make accommodations for what user name they have on the site.

  • jae1

    As long as they’ve made the group private, that’s a reasonable compromise. If it’s not made private (or secret), then anyone who wants can see it and, if public, post to it. If they’re posting pictures and full names of children (or really, anyone who doesn’t want to deal with unwanted attention), they should be sure they’ve got the security settings down correctly.

  • judyserienagy

    Facebook was fun for about a year, then I started getting bombarded with posts from people that I didn’t know and didn’t care about. Those posts edged out people that I care about. I’m always surprised that people still spend time on it. This guy is clever to not want to send them personal ID information, what a goofy thing to request!

  • cscasi

    The way I see it is, if you do not like how Facebook manages things or what “rules” it imposes, don’t use it!

  • just me

    That is not a viable solution. Creation of private laws than against what The People wish. Your proposal is more destructive than you imagine.
    Tell people in Flynt – if they do not like poisoned water delivered to them by the State – they should not use it.
    Tell people in California that if they do not like to inhale methane complements of a private company incompetence that they do not have to breath air all together.
    Tell people who have to travel from East coast to West to be there for business or family emergency that If they do not like the cramped unsafe and unhealthy airplanes that they have to risk thrombosis ( and we know that “seat belts-on” are often turned on for the convenience of the crew) and inhale engine bypass toxic gases – that they do not have to fly.
    It is people with your attitude that allowed the worsening condition all over the country on many things. You have done good job in making America worse than it was 30 years ago.
    There are less and less options we have grace to specific anti-consumer policies of the specific party ever since Reagan area of invalidating social gains this society benefited from for years.

  • KennyG

    What makes you think I dont like Facebook? My “comment” was directed to “just me” who is the one that seems so offended by Facebooks policies.

  • JewelEyed

    And this is different from any other large social or gaming platform how?

  • just me

    Please show me any other social media that come close to Facebook. Regardless – they are public forums by their own desire and design. If they overstep by acting as if they were a state rather than service they become “state actors” and all kind of laws start applying.

  • just me

    Please do not jump to the conclusions. I did not state that I do not like or like Facebook. I expressed rather valid reason exposing what actually their policies result with. If you think that my argument is not valid – please show me why – and I may change my thinking.
    But argument of type: if you don’t like don’t use, or it is a free service — are just plain wrong and untrue.
    Facebook is monetizing every single of its users to the tune of gazillions of dollars in income — how is it free than that they have so much income on each user – your are delusional.

  • just me

    I have friends in many countries. In Europe Facebook has problems as their requirements for the ID are in privacy laws violations in many countries if not whole EU. So they accept alternate ID’s of all sorts, including not-notarized affidavits – which is to say people use “real names” from the affidavits they self produce. Certificate of their dog vaccination is nearly as good.
    Interesting how do they intend to enforce it in the USA – the country without obligatory ID. But even existing ID have information they are not entitled to ever: picture (establishes ethnicity), id number, date of birth, signature, address – are all security info not essential in delivery of the Facebook services and therefore they are not entitled to it -even if it is their T&C (a.k.a private law imposed by non-negotiable boilerplate). In EU there are consumer protection laws and agencies that simply through administrative process forbid such private laws.
    The USA problem is that there are practically no consumer protections because people who get elected do not care about the consumer who elect them – but care for money from companies that do not want any consumer protections to derive greater profits at all cost. This is not capitalism – this is highway robbery.

  • JewelEyed

    Well, that’s all very…interesting, but I notice you’ve offered zero citations for your assertions…

  • BMG4ME

    There must be ways to do this that meet their conditions. Organizations can have pages, and doesn’t FB still have groups? If so, why not have a group. If they are offering a free service, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to ask you to comply.

  • KennyG

    I think you said a lot more in your initial comment that I replied to other than what you state here. Of course I agree with you that nothing is “free” perse. However, comparing someones completely optional use of Facebook [whether free to that individual or not], to their not so optional need to drink water or breathe clean air is preposterous IMHO. To go further and somehow blame Ronald Reagan for the social ills we currently experience would seem a bit beyond reasonable. The problem with places like Flint and Detroit for example, have little to do with Ronald Reagan [or even your favorite whipping boy, George Bush], they have to do with Democratic and Progressive politics that have built huge bureaucracies and spent these communities into near or total bankruptcy while enriching themselves. Facebook is a business, in business to earn a profit if possible. They do so by selling advertising space to companies that want the eyes of Facebook users to view their advertisements. All that costs the Facebook user is ZERO. So if you do not care to follow Facebooks rules, or if you dont want to follow Starbucks rules, or if you dont want to follow any companies rules, then don’t do business with them, or close your Facebook account and then Facebook will have that many fewer eyes to sell. As far as you calling me delusional, well, I will just chalk that up to you doing what many liberals do , don’t let facts get in the way, simply attack the person that disagrees with you.

  • If someone signs an email “Bob and Mary Smith,” I would just reply something like “Hello, Bob or Mary Smith.” It reminds me of joint checking accounts where there can be an “Or” or “And” between each name, and each has different implications (“Or” means one of two can sign the check and “And” means both must sign).

  • just me

    You are absolutely right the Facebook and the Flynt are not on equal level. But, more often than not, to bring focus on any given concept it helps to take to extreme edge. And this is what I did. I stand by the it.
    Your charging the Progressives and Dems is simply wrong on facts. You can keep your opinions but since they are not based on facts they are invalid pipe dream and delusional – the net opinion does not pass the knowledgeable men muster. One cannot formulate any opinion without true facts. Twisted mind interpretation of facts does not make the fact.
    Focus back on Facebook – they have so much money that they could wear a white hat for a change.

  • KennyG

    So I am now delusional and have a twisted mind. I stand by my earlier comment about adhominem attacks as you have just proven it once again. Believe what you want. Refute the dates and information about what has transpired in Detroit or not. Feel free to vote for the Bern as he will make sure companies like Facebook no longer are able to earn the profit you find so distasteful.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    But that the rule is routinely broken. I have multiple married friends who have joint accounts, and quite obviously so with the standard “John-Jane Doe” naming convention. It makes me wonder why Facebook decided to make an example out of the OP with so many others out there doing the same thing.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Let us know when you find a court that agrees with you on any of that.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Given you get to approve all friend requests on Facebook, how exactly were you being bombarded by posts from people you didn’t know? And why didn’t you either unfriend them or block them if they were causing you problems?

  • RightNow9435

    Same here….know a # of married couples using a joint FB account…..and from their comments, it’s easy to tell who is speaking

  • Éamon deValera

    Pay for the premium facebook and do what you wish. Otherwise with the free facebook you get what you pay for.