By Barbara Ortutay
Associated Press Technology Writer
Facebook is apologizing to drag queens and the transgender community for deleting accounts that used drag names like Lil Miss Hot Mess rather than legal names such as Bob Smith.
The world's biggest online social network caught heat recently when it deleted several hundred accounts belonging to self-described drag queens, other performers and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Facebook has long required its users to go by their "real names" on the site for security purposes, to stand out from other social networks and so it can better target advertising to people.
Now the company says the spirit of its policy doesn't mean a person's legal name but "the authentic name they use in real life. For Sister Roma, that's Sister Roma. For Lil Miss Hot Mess, that's Lil Miss Hot Mess," Chris Cox, Facebook's vice president of product wrote in a blog post Wednesday.