Google Rolls Back Controversial ‘Real Name’ Requirement

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Since Google+ went live three years ago, Google has pursued aggressive integration. However, the “real name” requirement didn’t go over well, and when it reached YouTube, it had some pretty disastrous results. Google recently rolled back this policy decision, and now users can call themselves whatever they want.

This decision was likely prompted by the re-authorization of pseudonyms on YouTube, a platform frequented by some of the most vocal users on any of Google’s services. Google+ was quick to follow, and now any user can choose any name they like, according to an official post from Google+ staff.

“We apologize, and we hope that today’s change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be. Thank you for expressing your opinions so passionately, and thanks for continuing to make Google+ the thoughtful community that it is,” the post states.

The pseudonym ban raised a lot of questions, and when G+ integration was made mandatory for the ability to comment on YouTube, the anonymity debate resurfaced. The problem with demanding users post under their own names, which Google didn’t official verify, meant that users could simply call themselves John Smith, and bypass Google’s real name filter easily.

The ban also did nothing to cut down on YouTube spam and trolling; in fact it caused a brief increase. This reality, coupled with the constant murmur from Google users that they were unhappy, prompted Google to roll back the “real name.” However, removing the policy isn’t likely to cause any significant increase in the number of Google+ users.

While the “don’t be evil” slogan doesn’t absolve Google from all wrongdoing, it certainly frames how users see the company. Users may have seen the move as evil, but shouldn’t attribute malice to stupidity. The intent of the “real names” requirement was to get “real people” into the network after the introduction of G+ — which failed, for the most part. Now it’s been undone, and users can feel free to live up to their true identities, like xxx360noscope420xxx.

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