How YouTube/G+ Integration Reignites Debate Over Anonymity

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It seems that every time there’s a major platform change on social media, someone somewhere on the internet is outraged. Such is the case with the new Google+-linked YouTube comment system.

When the change was announced a few weeks ago, it was pretty widely acknowledged that this was another ploy by Google to inflate the relevancy of Google+. Once the rollout started last week, that’s when the real complaints started happening. Even one of YouTube’s original content creators logged in to ask why he needed a G+ account to post a comment on his own video.

According to International Business Times, Reddit users have mounted a complaint campaign against the “forced integration.” The biggest complaint: the loss of anonymity as a result of having to use G+ accounts to comment on YouTube videos.

Herein lies the catch-22. Many people enjoy the anonymity of the internet. But YouTube is among the social networks most plagued with spam and trolls. The integration of G+, while undermining the principle of anonymity, is an effort to elevate the quality of comment content. The idea is that having to post comments using your legal name might force people to think twice about what they’re posting.

Forbes contributor, Paul Tassi, acknowledged the pressure of writing under his real name online saying, “I’ve sometimes secretly wished that everyone had to experience the same pressure that comes with that, and be responsible for every vile thing they’ve said on the internet (and to me) rather than hiding behind the cloak of anonymity.”

Even still, Tassi points out, there are people who don’t seem to care and spew hate under their real names when sites have implemented Facebook only commenting systems.

I’m in the same boat as Tassi, so I’m not necessarily hardcore about the necessity of online anonymity. What I do see is a problem related to the spam and troll machine, and websites doing what they can to solve this problem. If I were a YouTube content creator, I’d be happy to have a more robust system for moderating comments and engaging the YouTube audience in a quality conversation.

Photo credit: Rego – d4u.hu

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