Can You Have More Than One Google Plus Personal Account?
More Than One Google Plus Personal Account?
In a Switch, Google Plus Now Allows Pseudonyms
Should people be allowed to use pseudonyms online?
It is a topic of much debate, with Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus each giving different answers. On Monday, Google will change the policy on its social network to permit nicknames and pseudonyms.
But not any pseudonym will pass muster. Google will allow nicknames, maiden names and pseudonyms if the person can prove to Google that he or she is known by that name elsewhere, in published material or on other social networks.
“We want to build a product that is for humanity at large, and we recognize people have many notions around identity and ways to represent themselves,” said Bradley Horowitz, a vice president of product who works on Google Plus. “We want to be as inclusive as possible while still ensuring the integrity of the system and the community.”
Google employees will manually review some name changes, asking for documentation like a driver’s license, a link to a blog or social network where the person has a large following or published material under the new name.
“If they’re good actors in another place on the Internet, like a blog, they can take the reputation or credit they’ve earned over there and cash it in on Google Plus,” Mr. Horowitz said. “It’s a judgment call.”
“To be clear, this does not solve every case in the world,” he added, and said that this would be the first step of many to make Google Plus more accessible to people who do not want to use their real names.
The debate over pseudonyms is about privacy, freedom of expression and business. Fake names might be necessary to protect victims of abuse or political dissidents, but the more companies know about who you really are, the better they can pitch advertisers and partner Web sites.
Facebook requires that people use their real names and is trying to use that to become a digital passport for the Web. On Twitter, on the other hand, people can mostly use any name they choose.
Google’s role as an online identity service, Mr. Horowitz said, is “to allow people to express themselves and have a coherent, useful experience on the Internet, to give users choice and control.”
Google faced an outcry when it introduced Google Plus without the option of pseudonyms and shut down some users’ accounts, though it insists that it always planned to allow them.
First it had to work out some kinks, Mr. Horowitz said. It needed to learn how users behave on the site so it could monitor spam and inappropriate comments, which are likely to be more common with fake names. It also wanted to have measures in place to deal with pseudonymous users in the case of a government subpoena, for instance.
Christine Chen, a Google spokeswoman, said that if subpoenaed, Google asks for the narrowest request possible. That way, it can avoid turning over a pseudonymous user’s real identity, which it might have if the person has also signed up with a credit card to Google Wallet or sent a driver’s license to Google Plus, for example. Google said it would destroy all the documentation that users submitted.
A tiny percentage of Google Plus users who try to use fake names, have very unusual names or enter a business’s name instead of a person’s have been unable to create a profile. Business owners can now create corporate pages, and as of Monday, people using other names can enter them by editing their profile under the “About” section of the site.
Source: BitsBlogs NYT
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