A friend asked me the question today – Why some facebook profiles contain only the first name? Is that normal? I told my friend I’ll inquire and answer later. Now that inquiry is over … here’s my answer.
Most people having only their first name shown on facebook have actually used an Indonesian proxy to fake their location and benefit from the Indonesian naming system.
In Indonesia people don’t usually have family names. The full name of a child is often derived by this system:
Child’s name: Gema Father’s name: Suparman Mother’s name: Wulandari
On the birth certificate, the child’s name would be written as: Gema child of Suparman and Wulandari.
The birth certificate of an extramarital child would bear only the mother’s name.
On a school diploma, the child’s name would be written as: Gema child of Suparman.
On all other official documents (ID card, driver’s license, and passport), only the child’s name would appear: Gema.
Indonesian names therefore happen to be long and complicated. Facebook has thus allowed Indonesians to use only their first name in their profiles.
Needless to say many people out there find this interesting and fake their location using an Indonesian IP address (as proxy) and modify their account.