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Facebook Wants to End Anonymity on Internet

By - Source: Ubergizmo | B 83 comments

In a recent panel, Facebook marketing director Randi Zuckerberg said that anonymity on the Internet must go away.

Randi Zuckerberg, the sister of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the site's current marketing director, believes that anonymity on the Internet has to "go away." She made this revelation during a recent panel discussion on social media and cyberbullying hosted by Marie Claire magazine.

"The use of real names online could help curb bullying and harassment on the web," she told the audience. "I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors."

"There's so much more we can do," she added. "We're actively tying to work with partners like Common Sense Media and our safety advisory committee."

Christopher Poole, founder of 4chan, disagrees with Zuckerberg's observation. "Where there's no risk of failure, experimentation flourishes," he said. "On websites that require you to login via Facebook, the cost of failure is really high because you’re contributing as yourself. As a result, mistakes are attributed to who you are. I believe real names should only be required in scenarios where your actions can hurt others; in other cases, anonymity is just fine."

Both Facebook and Google try to force members into using their real names and legitimate email addresses, and both actively disable user accounts based on questionable and false information. But are they within their right? After all, Facebook and Google+ are geared for connecting friends, family, co-workers and business associates together – there really isn't a need for hiding behind fake names. To some degree, they're PG-rated websites not meant for hiding fugitives or allowing defamatory comments.

But as Google senior vice-president Vic Gundotra admits, he doesn't even use his real legal name on Google+. That said, there's some degree of anonymity allowed for "commonly used" names like Lady Gaga, Madonna and so on. "It is about having common names and removing people who spell their names in weird ways, like using upside-down characters, or who are using obviously fake names, like "god" or worse," writes Robert Scoble after talking with Gundotra.

One has to admit that sometimes it's easier to voice an opinion – especially negative ones – while "hiding" behind a simple alias or a full, fake name. Forcing everyone to use their legal names could stifle free speech. As an example, one opinionated reader may be terrified to voice his thoughts thanks to fears that anyone could track his/her physical address by name and IP address which ultimately could lead to physical violence.

Should anonymity on the Internet go away? No it shouldn't. Not everyone acts irresponsibly when using fake names and aliases. In fact, children playing online games especially don't need their names and additional details out in the open.

Just recently hacker group Anonymous claimed that Facebook is actually selling member information to government agencies, and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people. With that unconfirmed scenario in mind, if everyone started using fake names on Facebook, then the social website wouldn't have anything to "sell" to said parties. No wonder Facebook wants to be rid of anonymity.

"Everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook regardless of your 'privacy' settings, and deleting your account is impossible, even if you 'delete' your account, all your personal info stays on Facebook and can be recovered at any time," anonymous wrote earlier this month. "Changing the privacy settings to make your Facebook account more "private" is also a delusion. Facebook knows more about you than your family."

What's your take? Should anonymity be eradicated?

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Top Comments
  • 30 Hide
    Anonymous , August 17, 2011 12:37 AM
    Now they're asking Anonymous to attack... I guess goodbye facebook?
  • 26 Hide
    Anonymous , August 17, 2011 12:39 AM
    Now it's official: I really hope Anonymous is serious and they really do take down Facebook
  • 23 Hide
    hungrybear , August 17, 2011 12:57 AM
    That's such a narrow-minded view. What about people in totalitarian countries that write and blog and speak out against the government. Or people that participate in peer groups such as AA or LGBT groups that might not be ready to attach their names to their online profiles. Sometimes anonymity is a matter of protecting or preserving the ability of free speech.
Other Comments
    Display all 83 comments.
  • 8 Hide
    Montezuma , August 17, 2011 12:34 AM
    This is really old news.
  • 30 Hide
    Anonymous , August 17, 2011 12:37 AM
    Now they're asking Anonymous to attack... I guess goodbye facebook?
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , August 17, 2011 12:38 AM
    What, no-one has made an affirmation about needing to remove anonymity on the web while not signed or using a weird username? Geez, the people who read this article must be boring...
  • 26 Hide
    Anonymous , August 17, 2011 12:39 AM
    Now it's official: I really hope Anonymous is serious and they really do take down Facebook
  • 9 Hide
    onlymeworld , August 17, 2011 12:48 AM
    The real issues most people have today about privacy is the amount of information these sites are collecting about its users, the way this information is being collected, and how this information is being used. With all this information social networking sites today have about it’s users, add a real name, add an email, and add facial recognition, not only do people loose their privacy, they also expose themselves to cyber crimes, and predatory advertising & manipulation, etc., Regardless of what sites today promise regarding security, any site can be hacked. An example would the government & banks who have so called state of the art security systems. Social networking sites such as Google+ & Facebook are open door gold mines for cyber criminals. The obvious solution to address these security problems is simple, no real names, no emails. You don’t need a real name and an email address to social network effectively yet with some anonymity, you need this information to sell to advertisers & companies, you also need this information to sell someday to private interest, governments, companies, etc.,Although only 20% complete and still in Beta, ONLYMEWORLD early on seems to realize that respecting its users Privacy Rights is paramount to both longevity & success in the industry. Their platform is similiar to Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Linkedin, yet differ because of their approach to privacy by not asking for real names, and email addresses. ONLYMEWORLD, does not have nor will it ever have Facial Recognition Software!
  • 0 Hide
    christop , August 17, 2011 12:53 AM
    Lame!!!
  • 6 Hide
    bv90andy , August 17, 2011 12:53 AM
    Quote:
    formerFacebook marketing director Randi Zuckerberg
  • 12 Hide
    acadia11 , August 17, 2011 12:53 AM
    She and her brother can eat a d...k.

    Sincerely,
    Anonymous
  • 23 Hide
    hungrybear , August 17, 2011 12:57 AM
    That's such a narrow-minded view. What about people in totalitarian countries that write and blog and speak out against the government. Or people that participate in peer groups such as AA or LGBT groups that might not be ready to attach their names to their online profiles. Sometimes anonymity is a matter of protecting or preserving the ability of free speech.
  • 16 Hide
    kinggraves , August 17, 2011 12:58 AM
    It really bothers the marketing director when they can't be sure the names they're selling to advertisers are real or not. How can they inform you of the breakthroughs in penis enlargement if they can't get a hold of you?

    Anonymous wants you to remember the 5th of November.
  • 9 Hide
    proxy711 , August 17, 2011 1:01 AM
    Having all your info on facebook out there for all to see any time you say something over the internet isn't going to stop cyber bullying...it then just is bullying which happens face to face all the time.
  • 5 Hide
    acadia11 , August 17, 2011 1:22 AM
    Remember, remember the fifth of November,
    The gunpowder treason and plot
    I know of no reason
    Why the gunpowder treason
    Should ever be forgot
  • 10 Hide
    Thunderfox , August 17, 2011 1:24 AM
    The free speech afforded by the anonymity of the internet is arguably the greatest benefit the internet as a whole provides. It gives one the ability to have an honest conversation without having to be paranoid of violating social with every word you say. I don't just mean swearing, but ideas which might get you in trouble where you live, even if it's a first world country.
  • 5 Hide
    Thunderfox , August 17, 2011 1:25 AM
    err, that should be, violating social RULES
  • 7 Hide
    captainnemojr , August 17, 2011 1:28 AM
    Facebook already has everyone's information anyway who is on it. They are just waiting on an excuse to release it. They never really "delete" it.
  • 9 Hide
    wildkitten , August 17, 2011 1:32 AM
    Sounds like Facebook is advocating for real life bullying rather than cyber bullying. The only thing that showing real names will do to curb trolls is if people fear real life consequences, and people will only fear that if it indeed does start happening.
  • 4 Hide
    fyend , August 17, 2011 1:37 AM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59pxuaCxcHw
  • -3 Hide
    tmax , August 17, 2011 1:39 AM
    I agree with this.
  • 20 Hide
    wild9 , August 17, 2011 1:44 AM
    Quote:
    "The use of real names online could help curb bullying and harassment on the web," she told the audience. "I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.

    - Randi Zuckerberg, the sister of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg "


    Randi, did you wake up stupid and arrogant or did you bang your head?

    Did you ever...ever..EVER! stop to realise that for many people, bullying and harassment results when their identity is disclosed? Did it knock ring any bells in that seemingly cobweb-ridden brain of yours, that some many people would otherwise be tortured and killed for the crime of thought? Did it ever register any brain cells, that anonymity can also breed creative talent? Creative media? Freedom of expression?

    Finally, here's something to oil the rusty bits. When someone knows my name, where I live and who I mingle with - when they know it just by accessing the web - it automatically makes me a target for stalking. Your stupid narrow-minded fantasy I feel, opens up the flood-gates to every sick, depraved pervert, pedophile, robber, stalker, terrorist and murdering scum on the face of the planet. For what you are proposing is a phone book of targets that can be easily accessed and traced.

    Screw you and your Big Brother propaganda. People like YOU are the reason people like ME don't sign up the Face Book in the first place, the reason why I don't sign up the Google+, the reason I use all manner of fakery (ooh, the nerve), to ensure my views propagate free speach. What do you want: to find out who I am from this text, then to come round my house under some corporate-funded directive and declare me a criminal? Because that seems to be what you're shoveling.

    Your cure is far, far worse than the disease. Shove it where the sun doesn't shine. Have a nice day.
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , August 17, 2011 1:46 AM
    Something about the road to hell being paved with good intentions. Yeah, the more of a police state you have the lower the crime, is it a healthy trade?
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