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.