Google+ requiring real names to prevent trolling?

Google has cause a recent stir by suspending the profiles of users who refrained from using their real name on their Google+ accounts. While Google hasn’t fully given a reason as to why they were doing this, other than it was their policy that you must use a real name, new theories are coming about as to why this policy exists on both Google+ and other social networking sites.

Benjamin Cohen, technology correspondent of the UK’s Channel 4, thinks that the reason surrounds the art of “trolling.” He thinks that when users must use their real names, they will act more responsibility, civilly and honestly on the network, rather than posting unwanted “troll” comments under anonymous or fake aliases. He says "the authentication is important - it's a big problem on the internet and social networks make it more unlikely for someone to be pretending to be someone else."

Google currently claims that providing a real name helps friends and family search for you more easily through the social networking service, however prevention of spam and unwanted “troll” profiles are quite possibly high on the agenda. Facebook and LinkedIn both already stipulate a no-fake-names policy, and while using these services there is noticeably less spam, trolling and fake profiles than on Twitter and previously MySpace, both of which allow profile pseudonyms.

Of course users can simply create a realistic fake name, but even those profiles have been known to be removed. As the BBC reports, Twitter user Newsinchina created a Google+ account using the name Richard Zhang (presumed to be an alias to avoid being identified by Chinese authorities), however still had the account disabled. He stated that Google should consider user’s geographical complications:

Please Google+, when you are deciding regulations, you must consider Chinese usage, especially from users in mainland China.  Be sure to consider the user's actual situation. Please do not force them to use a real-name system. Otherwise, I think that Google will be violating its principle of 'don't be evil’

Google+ is still in a private beta stage and the team are still removing kinks from the service, however the policy of using a real name is likely to stay.

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37 Comments

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you can use mobile phone activation to prevent trolling. enter your phone, then server sends you sms with activation code you have to enter on the site. phone number will be registered, so you won't able to register second account. this is like most russian portals doing. helps a lot. and makes easier to recover forgotten password.

This is a farce, there is nothing stopping people trolling using Google+ or any other service, names are just text on screen and can be made to say anything, i could troll the many pages on Google+ as John Smith, who is Google to say I'm not John Smith?, or John Doe or Jimmy Bark or Freddy Wolf etc etc

The one thing that I can't understand is this bit:

Facebook and LinkedIn both already stipulate a no-fake-names policy...

So why are we complaining about Google doing the same thing? Because it's a new service? Because they are noticeably enforcing the policy?

What cracks me up is the simplicity of the solution. If you're cool with Google's policy, then use it. If you don't like Google having access to your real info or you'd like to move in ninja mode then by all means, do not sign up. There are other social networks available.


"Please reply to this email with either a copy of your government issued
ID, which we will dispose of after review. Once we receive this
information we can review your appeal and come to a final decision."
- The Google Profiles Support Team

Honest question:

What's wrong with having your real name, and then using a nickname?

I thought that's the point of the nickname field...

wyoung76 said,
Honest question:

What's wrong with having your real name, and then using a nickname?

I thought that's the point of the nickname field...


My point is the only reason places like google,facebook and others want all this is so they can sell your info.The problem is anyone can buy it and pretty much use it for whatever they want to ue it for.Now you can sit and ponder who and why would want it.Why not just set Googlecam's up in your house so they have full access?

tbob121 said,

My point is the only reason places like google,facebook and others want all this is so they can sell your info.The problem is anyone can buy it and pretty much use it for whatever they want to ue it for.Now you can sit and ponder who and why would want it.Why not just set Googlecam's up in your house so they have full access?

This. They are worried about diminishing the value of the data they will be mining.

wyoung76 said,
Honest question:

What's wrong with having your real name, and then using a nickname?

I thought that's the point of the nickname field...


Some people might want a account with only their online identity, they don't want to mix it and the real name account that is used to talk with friends and family, not hard to see why some of the more famous Internet personalities would want to do it that way.

tbob121 said,

My point is the only reason places like google,facebook and others want all this is so they can sell your info.The problem is anyone can buy it and pretty much use it for whatever they want to ue it for.Now you can sit and ponder who and why would want it.Why not just set Googlecam's up in your house so they have full access?

/tinfoilhat

Northgrove said,
That's what I always said/thought. Trolls, scams, identity theft. It's not exactly rocket science.

It's not like this makes it any harder to pretend to be someone else, you can still use their name right... Can't see how this prevents scams and identity theft. Trolls can simply go by a fake name.
Only thing this does is annoy people who want an account where they are only known by their internet handle...

Phone numbers,list of friends,all sorts of private info real names.LOL sure they want them to prevent trolling.Who the F%%k prevents the people they sell that info to from trolling your a$$ ?

tbob121 said,
Phone numbers,list of friends,all sorts of private info real names.LOL sure they want them to prevent trolling.Who the F%%k prevents the people they sell that info to from trolling your a$ ?

they're not releasing info to any third party without your consent, and they are not using your information only the statistics, nobody is out to get you...

I still don't get it, what's the benefit of real name in opposite to fake-names/nick-names/pseudonyms, without any kind of authentication? I am not sure if I really like the idea of "Real names" only, but I want trust that the other side use a real name, at least, if I use my real name. Facebook and G+ have a "report link" for this, but how I can report a person if this person is unknown?

What is the big deal. My name could be Jason Anderson. That sounds like a real name. How do they know it's not. Please people. Use your brains.

With that said, it's a FU**ING SOCIAL NETWORK. Why would you not put your real name? I have never met a person on Facebook who didn't have there real name.

UndergroundWire said,
What is the big deal. My name could be Jason Anderson. That sounds like a real name. How do they know it's not. Please people. Use your brains.

With that said, it's a FU**ING SOCIAL NETWORK. Why would you not put your real name? I have never met a person on Facebook who didn't have there real name.

And you have never met me there either, huh? I sure as heck wouldn't use my real name on ANY socially diseased website like FB or this Google + crap either! I do have a FB account, but I think I've only ever logged into it twice and that was just to trash Virgin Mobil!!

I know a WHOLE LOT of people of use such ridiculous names, you couldn't imagine!

Google is getting dumber and more ridiculous by the day

cork1958 said,

And you have never met me there either, huh? I sure as heck wouldn't use my real name on ANY socially diseased website like FB or this Google + crap either! I do have a FB account, but I think I've only ever logged into it twice and that was just to trash Virgin Mobil!!

A proof of the article... Troll with fake name.
I think your sentence about google could apply to you

NesTle said,

A proof of the article... Troll with fake name.
I think your sentence about google could apply to you


+1 If Google is keeping people like him out. Then that's a +

cork1958 said,

And you have never met me there either, huh? I sure as heck wouldn't use my real name on ANY socially diseased website like FB or this Google + crap either!

Then **GASP** DON'T SIGN UP FOR ONE!

People are not required to get a FB, G+ account. So demanding that you use your REAL NAME on a SOCIAL NETWORK is perfectly fine. Because if you sign up for one yet want to hide yourself your just being a grade A hypocrite.

UndergroundWire said,
What is the big deal. My name could be Jason Anderson. That sounds like a real name. How do they know it's not. Please people. Use your brains.

With that said, it's a FU**ING SOCIAL NETWORK. Why would you not put your real name? I have never met a person on Facebook who didn't have there real name.


Well, some people like say MuscleNerd, Saurik (Both famous in the iOS jailbreaking community) or Notch (creator of minecraft) who are famous by their nickname might want to have an account with that nickname as their external account and then one with their normal name for friends and family.

Saurik usually present himself with both real name and his nickname, but he can't even do that on Google+, there is no nickname box and he can't put "(Saurik)" in his surname.

Musclenerd never use his real name anywhere when it comes to the jailbreak community, Saurik has worked with him on several projects and don't actually know his real name, some people prefer it that way, should they not be allowed to communicate with people trough the name they are know for (on Google+)? Why not?

Many know the name of Notch, Markus Persson, but he is still more know his nickname, at least to many on the internet who are not close friends or such.

Saurik actually posted a very good article on the topic https://plus.google.com/116098...850876544/posts/4t8sFLLK4hK
(Yes, posted on Google+, the post is public, anyone can view it.)

Leonick said,

Well, some people like say MuscleNerd, Saurik (Both famous in the iOS jailbreaking community) or Notch (creator of minecraft) who are famous by their nickname might want to have an account with that nickname as their external account and then one with their normal name for friends and family.

Saurik usually present himself with both real name and his nickname, but he can't even do that on Google+, there is no nickname box and he can't put "(Saurik)" in his surname.

Musclenerd never use his real name anywhere when it comes to the jailbreak community, Saurik has worked with him on several projects and don't actually know his real name, some people prefer it that way, should they not be allowed to communicate with people trough the name they are know for (on Google+)? Why not?

Many know the name of Notch, Markus Persson, but he is still more know his nickname, at least to many on the internet who are not close friends or such.

Saurik actually posted a very good article on the topic https://plus.google.com/116098...850876544/posts/4t8sFLLK4hK
(Yes, posted on Google+, the post is public, anyone can view it.)

So fine, wait for the business account. Case solved. Move on.

chadlachlanross said,
What's so 'evil' about your real name? So why is Google wanting people to use their real names against their 'don't be evil' policy?

Because if you don't use your real name they might delete not only your G+ account, but your Google Docs, GMail, etc... That's pretty lame even if it's not technically "evil."

They need to change their motto to "Don't be evil... or disengenuous."

chadlachlanross said,
What's so 'evil' about your real name? So why is Google wanting people to use their real names against their 'don't be evil' policy?

What if you are an author that uses a pen name? You can't use the service, uh? There are a lot of reasons and 'types' of users that would not have real names.

Google once again proves that when it comes to security issues like troll or false accounts, they have so little understanding of base security concepts that they throw out the baby with the bathwater. (Google, if you are listenting, pay attention to Microsoft, they don't do insane restrictions that make things harder on the customer, instead they implement more robust verification and security systems. Even Facebook has a better and more secure system.)

In business, a good policy is to always ask yourself if you are implementing a policy that is better and easier for your customers or if you are trying to get by even if it isn't better and makes things harder for your customers.

GreyWolf said,

Because if you don't use your real name they might delete not only your G+ account, but your Google Docs, GMail, etc... That's pretty lame even if it's not technically "evil."

They need to change their motto to "Don't be evil... or disengenuous."

Google have said thats not the case, if your Google+ account gets canned only your Google+ services will be lost. Gmail, your calendar, Docs and the likes dont tie into Google+ so are safe