Facebook marketing director Randi Zuckerberg (sister to Mark Zuckerberg) recently said the prescription for cyber-bullying is to remove anonymity from the Internet. “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,” she said in a discussion on social media
Facebook’s policy requires users to provide their real name when signing up, but they don’t enforce it. In fact Facebook will let you change your account name at will and you can have as many accounts as you have email accounts.
Here’s how they could enforce name accuracy and why they won’t. The social media giant recently added a feature to automatically tag photos and suggest tags to photos by scanning them while you’re uploading. In typical Facebook style, you’re automatically opted in and have to hunt through the settings to opt out. Anyone uploading photos will be given suggestions to tag faces and is allowed to bulk tag. When Facebook recognizes you they will simply tag you without asking. In the process, they’ll build a database of what you did and when, with whom and of course what you look like. (Randi Zuckerburg’s big brother will be your big brother too someday.)
With a reasonably accurate model of what you look like, Facebook could identify users through their webcam, in addition to their credentials, when they wanted to post on other people’s walls. Facebook won’t do that because it’s bad for business. Much like pulling down the Kill Casey Anthony Facebook sites are bad for business. Removing anonymity from Facebook can be achieved but adding complexity to the login process will only send users to Google+.
For now we’re left with anonymity on the Internet, which may actually deter cyber-bullying because the one who is being bullied hasn’t necessarily revealed their real name and can choose to stand at least one degree removed from the bully.