Is Facebook Thinking of Removing Anonymity? Yes, Only Thinking.

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.

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No Responses to “Is Facebook Thinking of Removing Anonymity? Yes, Only Thinking.”

October 17, 2011 at 4:55 am, A Nonymous said:

This reason demanding people’s identies to prevent cyber-bullying is highly suspect. You could simply eliminate unverified accounts from commenting, cyber-bullies will find a way around it, etc.
What is unarguable though that Facebook makes its income from strip-mining as much information about users as possible to sell to advertisers. They are constantly looking for ways to get more information about every one of us, it correlates directly with their revenues. I would imagine that fictitious or anonymous users are a great impediment to being able to accurately track people all over the Internet and build a profile on them.
It also prevents people from expressing ideas that they don’t want to have to defend from retaliation, to let their ideas stand on their own. This comment for instance.
The reasons given, the carnage of cyber-bullying, don’t really add up to justify the remedy, it smells more like a pretext. Kind of Orwellian.

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