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Fake Names On Social Networks, a Fake Problem

CmdrTaco posted about 3 years ago | from the no-you-are-more-fake dept.

Privacy 283

disco_tracy writes "The leading social networks demand that members use their real names, and they're not afraid to evict violators. Many Facebook users have quietly complied, despite the problems that rule creates for political dissidents, stalking survivors and others. Much of this discussion has centered around people in physical or financial danger of having their identities revealed. But there are broader reasons for social networks to stop pushing real-name policies."

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283 comments

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BAN THE BRITISH !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056168)

Ban the Brits !!

In other news... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056182)

several hundred people around the world have had their name legally changed to Anonymous Coward

Re:In other news... (0)

deckitbruiseit (1369769) | about 3 years ago | (#37056510)

+1 Awesome

Re:In other news... (2)

gnick (1211984) | about 3 years ago | (#37056594)

No, really, I swear! I AM Spartacus!

Re:In other news... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 3 years ago | (#37057276)

No...I'm Brian!!!

.......and so's my wife.....

You Are The Product (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 3 years ago | (#37056188)

The single main reason that âoesocial networksâ push the real names issue is quality of their database for the use of marketers that buy services from the social networks. That, and the Three Letter Agencies make extensive use of social network data mining. But itâ(TM)s mostly the marketers, the more they know about *you* the more they can sell *you*. "Social networks" do this to improve the quality of their product (you).

Re:You Are The Product (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 3 years ago | (#37056268)

Very true.

The requirement is there to help the corporations, not their users.

The really silly part is that they make such half-hearted attempts to enforce it. A simple 1 cent charge on a Credit Card (or a $10 charge that buys you a $10 credit at your choice of Amazon/Fandango/Barnes & Nobles/other corporate sponsors) would do 99% of the work of verifying identity. But they don't want to actually do this, because they are afraid it might turn off 1% of users.

What they don't understand is that at least 5% of users are more turned off by the requirement to use the real name - even if they don't really check it.

Re:You Are The Product (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 3 years ago | (#37056326)

It's how USPS does it for online change of address forms. It's a $1 charge but google could easily afford a $.1 charge (they already have the google checkout processor). I'd validate and verify everyone on their service. Heck they could even just issue a temporary hold and reverse the charge as long as it went through.

Re:You Are The Product (3, Informative)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 3 years ago | (#37057340)

It's how USPS does it for online change of address forms.

Yes, but you as a customer do not have to do your change of address online and pay for it.

I was kinda shocked when I saw this...so I looked a bit harder at the USPS site...and it did provide the option (not as easy to find) to print out the form, and submit it to the postoffice or mail it in like the old ways for free.

Re:You Are The Product (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056744)

More than 1% of their users lack credit cards. There's a significant user base of minors on FaceBook.

Re:You Are The Product (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37056858)

You're right this would also solve that problem.

Credit cards and name verification = not so easy (5, Insightful)

robp (64931) | about 3 years ago | (#37057406)

Hi, I'm the author of the Discovery piece (and yes, I'm posting under my real name). One detail I couldn't get into that post was the credit-card issue--at first, I thought that a Facebook or a Google+ could just query Visa or AmEx or whoever and get a name match. It turns out that it's not so easy. Neither of the two usual card-verification schemes actually confirm a cardholder's name:

* asking for CVV2 numbers [wikipedia.org] just proves that the person has the card in their hand (or has memorized those digits);

* AVS [wikipedia.org] , or address verification system, only checks the numbers in the billing address.

There are other services that claim to verify names nearly instantly--but as gurps_npc notes, the real reason neither Facebook nor G+ bothers is because they don't want to discourage people from signing up.

- RP

Re:You Are The Product (1)

surefooted (826448) | about 3 years ago | (#37056544)

"Social networks" do this to improve the quality of their product (you)." To me or my fake FB accounts? lol

Re:You Are The Product (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about 3 years ago | (#37056608)

Thanks to AdBlock and Google's spam filter, I haven't seen a single email from Facebook or one of their 'marketers' since I joined.

I was also unaware that they had any sort of 'use your real name' policy, as many of my friends use "Shotglass Susie" and stuff like that, which is clearly not real.

Re:You Are The Product (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 3 years ago | (#37056882)

... as many of my friends use "Shotglass Susie" and stuff like that...

Screen Name is different than Real Name at FB. And, from the FB ToS:

Facebook requires users to provide their real first and last names [....] Fake names are not permitted.

So, FB may get around to "Shotglass Susie" eventually, and send her and her shotglass packing.

Re:You Are The Product (1)

SkyDude (919251) | about 3 years ago | (#37057254)

Maybe a real name like this will work: Chnsz Medvypa

I generated a password using Lastpass and just changed the capitalization. After all, maybe it's my family tradition to give their kids first names composed of all consonants.

Re:You Are The Product (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056984)

If social networks were improving the quality of their product, maybe their product would become smart enough not to use social networking.

Re:You Are The Product (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 3 years ago | (#37057026)

From my end, I'm more concerned of being able to find old friends from long long ago. If they're using pseudonyms, how can I find them?

Actually, Google says you can use pseudonyms, as long as other people that you know also know that name.

Just my opinion.

Re:You Are The Product (3, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | about 3 years ago | (#37057210)

We've been over this before. [slashdot.org] If a company is selling your data (Facebook, to the best of my knowledge) then yes, linking it to your real name is useful. That's a pretty crappy reason though and we shouldn't encourage it (in fact it would be nice if it was outlawed, though that's just wishful thinking,) but it is a reason.

If the company is just selling advertising directed at you (Google, to the best of my knowledge) then what difference does it make if i use a pseudonym or not? They can collect information about me just as easily and sell advertising directed at me either way. Even if i "fool" them by logging in two or three times under different names that just means they can collect information on each of those profiles and sell two or three times as much advertising.

And if i'm afraid to indulge my interest in invisible pink unicorn pornography while logged in under my real name and a social network enforces a real name policy, then either i'm not going to log into that network at all (total loss of revenue) or i'm just going to avoid some of my favorite activities on that network (partial loss of revenue since their advertising won't be as well tailored to my actual interests.)

Re:You Are The Product (3, Informative)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | about 3 years ago | (#37057404)

A very large problem with this forcing of real names is when the sites in question have blacklists for certain names. I have a friend who's real, birth certificate name is "Aragorn" (his parents are HUGE LOTR geeks) and facebook does not allow that name, so he goes by Aragor. It's incredibly annoying to me, but he doesn't really care that much. facebook wants him to send a copy of his driver's license as proof so they'll allow him to use the name.

I'm just glad that they let me use Spike. I mean, it may not be on my birth certificate, but it's the only name I use. It's on my bank accounts (BofA doesn't seem to care), credit cards, cell phone, work ID, everything. My parents have called me that since before I was born and it's all anyone calls me.

Oh Look.. (2, Insightful)

EasyTarget (43516) | about 3 years ago | (#37056224)

Ah; a story on how hiding behind pseudonyms is no bad thing..
..followed by a comment thread in which lots of people hiding behind pseudonyms insult each other in ways they would not do if their names were actually attached and the comments could follow them home.

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

DoktorMel (35110) | about 3 years ago | (#37056300)

Says someone similarly using a pseudonym. That's not evidence, that's just /..

Pseudonymous usage does not == uncivil assholeishness.

If you need evidence of that, have a look at some of the anti-pseudonym sentiments that have cropped up under people's "real" names on Google+ thus far. On the whole the pseudonymous crowd have been considerably more civil, more reasonable, and more able to present research supportive of their arguments.

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

EasyTarget (43516) | about 3 years ago | (#37056522)

Pseudonymous usage does not == uncivil assholeishness.

I disagree; and I cite the Internet's finest authority to back me up in it's most famous cartoon:
http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/3/19/ [penny-arcade.com]

Re:Oh Look.. (0)

corbettw (214229) | about 3 years ago | (#37057444)

GIFT requires anonymity, not pseudonymity, you cockshit fuckwad.

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

residieu (577863) | about 3 years ago | (#37056806)

It doesn't always lead there. I've been in a few groups that are remarkably civil without requiring real identities (or excessive moderator action). And back in usenet days when I engaged in some of my most uncivil Internet conversation I actually used my real name. But it's a definite contributing factor. Even with my semi-anonymous usernames like this, I often restrain myself from my instincts to be a complete ass.

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

Vernes (720223) | about 3 years ago | (#37056450)

...in which lots of people hiding behind pseudonyms insult each other...
Still not a bad thing.
...if their names were actually attached and the comments could follow them home.
That is a bad thing.
You don't want some random internet user coming to your home to make his point without using words.

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

EasyTarget (43516) | about 3 years ago | (#37056574)

You don't want some random internet user coming to your home to make his point without using words.

Well; I rarely say things that might make them want to do that.. Do you find you have such a problem? Maybe it's the way you express yourself?

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 3 years ago | (#37056628)

so, from your limited experience, you extrapolate to the entire world. Brilliant.

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 3 years ago | (#37057106)

Well; I rarely say things that might make them want to do that.

Says the guy with the username "EasyTarget".

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37057242)

Obviously, you're not gay and hold no controversial views. Good for you, for the rest of us, there's always the possibility of saying something that would lead somebody living relatively near to us to come over and take things up in person. Sure it's a remote risk, but for some issues it definitely could happen.

Not to mention employers that do background checks.

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

residieu (577863) | about 3 years ago | (#37056834)

Just ask Magnolia-Fan

Re:Oh Look.. (3, Funny)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 3 years ago | (#37056486)

Oh, f**k you. You fascist.

And by the way.
Real Name: Jonathon Wisnoski
And I live in: Parkhill, Ontario, Canada.

Re:Oh Look.. (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 3 years ago | (#37056582)

Pfft! Still fake. There is no such place as Canada!

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 3 years ago | (#37056754)

I dunno, pretty sure Ontario is real... I mean they have a lake or something.... But Alberta? phwwww totally not real

Re:Oh Look.. (3, Interesting)

SamSim (630795) | about 3 years ago | (#37056536)

Every right can be abused. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be a right.

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | about 3 years ago | (#37056636)

My name is Dylan Goss, and I think you're a dumbass. Did I just disprove your point?

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

cobrausn (1915176) | about 3 years ago | (#37056710)

No, because the name Dylan Goss isn't a unique identifier. Post your name and address and then you might make a stronger point.

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37057274)

Do any sites require that?

What's more the real name policy definitely discriminates against folks with unusual names. I remember working with a gentleman whose last name was uncommon enough that he could categorically say that if I ran into anybody with it that they were a relative. My last name isn't really that rare, but there's still only a few dozen folks that I know of that share it.

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

cobrausn (1915176) | about 3 years ago | (#37057548)

None that I know of. The only point I was trying to really make was that when you are arguing with your reputation at stake (as it would be if it was attached to a unique identifier), the arguments tend to remain fairly civil. I'm not denying the value of anonymity.

Re:Oh Look.. (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 3 years ago | (#37056692)

Just because some mistake freedom for license doesn't mean freedom should be removed, online or offline. We have laws because some people just can't deal with freedom, but this is different since it's about a business model which depends entirely on selling user details for marketing purposes. As such, unlike the law, it is quite easy to escape, simply by not participating, or taken to the next level, by creating a competing operation which doesn't need such unsavoury practises to thrive. What that might be is anyone's guess, probably selling services like game participation or taking a cut from people who do.

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 3 years ago | (#37056720)

You've never been to a city hall meeting, have you?

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

suy (1908306) | about 3 years ago | (#37056776)

(...) if their names were actually attached and the comments could follow them home.

You mean your case? Because in mine, I sign my comments with my nickname, which in 1 minute can lead you to my real name and some of my websites, where I clearly state my name, and whose domains are owned by me. Heck, I even link to my site here. You don't need the Googling.

Re:Oh Look.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056944)

Speak for yourself idiot I would never cower behind a pseudonym.

Re:Oh Look.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37057202)

Ah; a story on how hiding behind pseudonyms is no bad thing.. ..followed by a comment thread in which lots of people hiding behind pseudonyms insult each other in ways they would not do if their names were actually attached and the comments could follow them home.

Because privacy is so much less important than people being polite.

I

Re:Oh Look.. (1)

gatkinso (15975) | about 3 years ago | (#37057230)

Asshole.

You made yourself an "EasyTarget" for that one. Harharhar.

Re:Oh Look.. (2)

RJFerret (1279530) | about 3 years ago | (#37057344)

Naïve.

First, the story wasn't not about how pseudonyms are not bad, it doesn't even talk about that but goes into other issues. (See the bullet points kindly provided in "Lord Grey's" post below.)

But to truly attack someone, you have to know something about them and be able to access an area they are vulnerable.

Anonymously "attacking" is insignificant.

If some stranger with no identity you can relate to says something about you, whether on the Internet, WWW, email, or written in your local newspaper, it has no impact on you.

But someone you know and value the opinion of? Now emotional and perhaps mental distress may be caused.

Worse, someone who knows where you live or work? Now potential financial and physical distress may be caused.

People establish positions of power and then use knowledge and identities to inflict more harm. Step one of taking someone down is learning about them. Step two is getting them to trust you.

You'll note people have been murdered based on real identities/contact, there is a "Craigslist killer" and "Facebook killer", but no "Twitter killer" (as of yet).

The first rule of being safe online is not to reveal personal information, starting with your full name, that hasn't changed--oh wait, and it seems your behavior agrees with that Mr./Ms. "EasyTarget".

Three points (3, Interesting)

Lord Grey (463613) | about 3 years ago | (#37056228)

For those of you who don't RTFA -- you do exist, right? -- here are the "broader reasons:"

  1. * These rules risk incorrect removals of people who had used their own monikers.
  2. * These sites don't seem serious about these rules anyway.
  3. * The Internet doesn't need real names to work.

Mind boggling, I know. Even more so when you consider than an entire article was written around those three points.

Re:Three points (2)

OpenYourEyes (563714) | about 3 years ago | (#37056610)

Mind boggling... but what is even more so are how many people are out there insisting that we have to get rid of psuedonyms.

It is a good thing that articles are being published debunking some of the myths... and not just by people who come across as ranting or rambling...

Re:Three points (2)

w_dragon (1802458) | about 3 years ago | (#37056718)

Facebook is not The Internet. Thankfully. Facebook and G+ both require real names for the majority in order for people's social networks to be able to mirror real life, which is the point of FB. Other social networks have different goals, and real names don't matter. A few people on FB using pseudonyms don't cause issues since you can find them by looking through contacts of mutual friends. If the majority of FB users used pseudonyms it would be very hard for someone just joining to find the people they know in real life, which kind of defeats the purpose of FB.

Re:Three points (1)

Daetrin (576516) | about 3 years ago | (#37057308)

"which kind of defeats the purpose of FB."

Does it? Who decides what the purpose of Facebook is? Certainly the people who own Facebook can try to direct things, but isn't the purpose of Facebook just as much what the users of Facebook actually use it for?

Personally, i use Facebook for the exact same reasons i use other social networks for, to keep track of what's going on with my friends. Those friends will tell me what their profile is on the their favorite network site, whether they're using a pseudonym or not. I don't care if some idiot that i didn't like in high school and didn't care enough about to keep in touch with can find me now. If there actually was someone who i've lost track with but want to reconnect with i'm easily findable through my webpage or main email address, and they can just ask for my social network profiles that way. Real names are not necessary for the purposes for which i use Facebook and other social networking sites.

I know several that do obfuscate... (5, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 years ago | (#37056266)

Why? because of Stupid HR people.

I have a friend that has 3 PHD's in Archaeology and is a Viking Historian that heads up the local SCA Viking group. he had to change his name to a viking name to keep schools from googling him and labelling him as a "wierdo that dresses up" and losing teaching positions.

I have another friend that worked in the medical field and was getting questioned daily by his HR department demanding he "friend them" on Facebook. so he changed his name to a made up one, made a new "real profile" that is empty and friended them through that.

Give us laws that protect us from Assholes in the HR department, I.E. let me sue my boss for $34,986,231,15 for not giving me a raise because I posted a LOLCAT animated gif on my facebook wall.

They cant fire me for living in a blue house with yellow flowers growing outside, but yet the idiots in Washington think it's ok to let them do it because I am friends with people named Dave.

Re:I know several that do obfuscate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056386)

Three Ph.D.s? Wow. It's going to take me six years just to get one.

Re:I know several that do obfuscate... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056438)

Wow - really?

My boss pestered me to be added as a friend on facebook. I politely avoided the issue. Several other staff did add the boss and trouble ensued. The boss was quickly unfriended followed by requests to see what collegue x was up to via my account - again politely refused.

My personal life has nothing to do with work. My friends on facebook are just that, friends.

That said, my facebook account is largely dormant now as a result of this. Well that and the pointlessness of so many status updates these days.

Anon cause I can't be arsed to log in...

Re:I know several that do obfuscate... (4, Insightful)

GlennC (96879) | about 3 years ago | (#37057356)

When I get asked by bosses/coworkers to be Facebook friends, I politely suggest we connect through LinkedIn.

The right tool for the job, etc.

Re:I know several that do obfuscate... (2)

definate (876684) | about 3 years ago | (#37056452)

I and a lot of my friends do this. Specifically, all of my friends who work as teachers, are all on there with pseudonyms, and other friends who don't want their careers tarnished by their profiles.

I know it's a serious problem for me, and many others. Fuck Facebook's rules, I'll do what I want.

Re:I know several that do obfuscate... (1)

w_dragon (1802458) | about 3 years ago | (#37056736)

The teachers I know just set everything to private so only people they choose can see them. It's the lawyers who seem to be using pseudonyms...

Re:I know several that do obfuscate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056464)

I can also confirm, as a network engineer at my company, that the HR department has several fake profiles that they use to spy on employees.

They "friend" an employee using a fake profile and use wall posts to find excuses to let people go.

Re:I know several that do obfuscate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056502)

you can still be a weirdo with 3 PhD's. In fact, it's very likely.

Why would somebody have three PhDs? (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 3 years ago | (#37056648)

I have a friend that has 3 PHD's in Archaeology...

!!!

Three PhDs? In the same subject?

Why?

Re:Why would somebody have three PhDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056734)

because he was jonesing for them.

Re:Why would somebody have three PhDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056790)

Why not?

It's not like they would cost a lot on the Internets.

Re:Why would somebody have three PhDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056860)

Maybe he really likes Archaeology? Or maybe he really likes PHDs :)

Captcha: daydream

Re:Why would somebody have three PhDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056866)

Well, there's the one from DeVry, the one from University of Phoenix, ...

Re:Why would somebody have three PhDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056922)

Because his made up friend sounds more impressive that way

Re:I know several that do obfuscate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056726)

They cant fire me for living in a blue house with yellow flowers growing outside...

Maybe not fire you, but they could refuse to hire you. There's no law against discriminating against people based on the color of their flowers. It may be wrong, but not illegal.

Re:I know several that do obfuscate... (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 years ago | (#37056782)

If HR is demanding to be let into your personal life, its time to find a new job. And contrary to your statement, an employer CAN fire you for having a blue house with yellow flowers, if they so desire. Peolpe with blue houses are not a protected class in any way shape of form. Stop looking at your employer as your slave master. If they do crazy things you dont like, LEAVE.

Re:I know several that do obfuscate... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 3 years ago | (#37057088)

Peolpe with blue houses are not a protected class in any way shape of form.

My religion requires me to paint my house in blue. Do you discriminate against me because of this?

Re:I know several that do obfuscate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37057382)

People who believe in strange religions and paint houses in blue tend to score low in IQ tests, so we will make you fail one of those, and good luck! Morale: if they don't like you, you won't be long in the job.

Re:I know several that do obfuscate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37057326)

You may not be affected by the economic problems around the world because what you do happens to be critical to the machine that keeps what's left shambling along. I assure you most people are not in that boat. FWIW I'm in your boat, but I'm not so blind as to see that most of the world is not keeping us company (though I'm sure they'd love to, hygiene not withstanding).

Re:I know several that do obfuscate... (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#37056906)

This even happened before social networking was a big thing.

I remember a story about a high school art teacher who was secretly a critically acclaimed pseudonymous artist. Who painted mosaics using his naked buttcheeks as stamps.

When he was found out, he was shamed and forced to resign, even against the wishes of his students. So when you bring up the story about the teacher forced to resign for drinking *something* in a picture on Myspace, remember that story.

Re:I know several that do obfuscate... (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | about 3 years ago | (#37057260)

In the long run it would probably be better for him to take a position where they did know about the odd viking related behaviors. Its not to say that a "normal guy" and a "weirdo" couldn't both do an adequate job, but in a corporate environment you're better off finding one that is "viking weirdo" friendly as even if you are hired by keeping it a secret your advancement and career might be severely hindered.

Then again, we're talking about academia, so I can't see why it would matter to let your freak flag fly.

Re:I know several that do obfuscate... (1)

Cigarra (652458) | about 3 years ago | (#37057480)

...another friend that worked in the medical field and was getting questioned daily by his HR department demanding he "friend them" on Facebook. so he changed his name to a made up one, made a new "real profile" that is empty and friended them through that.

Wouldn't it be easier to just accept the "friendship" request and put the HR people in a can't-see-anything-that-I-post group? That way, he would't even be lying, as he is now.

HBGary email that ought 2 concern U ALL (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056304)

This really bothered me, don't know about the rest of you:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/16/945768/-UPDATED:-The-HB-Gary-Email-That-Should-Concern-Us-All [dailykos.com]

PERTINENT QUOTES/EXCERPTS:

"According to an embedded MS Word document found in one of the HBGary emails, it involves creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated "persona management" software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally cross-contaminating each other. Then, to top it off, the team can actually automate some functions so one persona can appear to be an entire Brooks Brothers riot online... And all of this is for the purposes of infiltration, data mining, and (here's the one that really worries me) ganging up on bloggers, commenters and otherwise "real" people to smear enemies and distort the truth... "

and

"They are talking about creating the illusion of consensus. And consensus is a powerful persuader... And another thing, this is just one little company of assholes. I can't believe there aren't others doing this already. From oil companies, political campaigns, PR firms, you name it. Public opinion means big bucks. And let's face it, what these guys are talking about is easy."

and

"To the extent that the propaganda technique known as "Bandwagon" is an effective form of persuasion, which it definitely is, the ability for a few people to infiltrate a blog or social media site and appear to be many people, all taking one position in a debate, all agreeing, for example, that so and so is not credible, or a crook, is an incredibly powerful weapon."

---

* I'd suggest reading the whole article in the link I put up above & not only because of the quotes I pulled from it to get your attention here, but also because it largely BACKS THE FACT THAT EVEN PSEUDONYMS DON'T MATTER, because they're easy to create via alternate email accounts, TOR endpoint proxies usage, OR anonymous proxy server usage on the part of those seeking to be "many from 1"!

(Yes, I'd read that folks - because it MAY ADVERSELY AFFECT YOU ONE DAY ALSO & be "levelled against you" (I hope not)... & I KNOW I've had it happen to me, here, & others spots online (I busted clone52431/clone53421 & others doing it in fact, the "trolltalk.com" pack of admitted trolls around here in fact & years ago from arstechnica people @ Windows IT Pro -> http://www.windowsitpro.com/article/internals-and-architecture/the-memory-optimization-hoax#feedbackAnchor [windowsitpro.com] (Jeremy Reimer mainly))).

APK

P.S.=> That's for anyone that tries to say I am "full of it", etc./et al - though I know that most of you KNOW this type of crap really does go on online, & how/when/where/why IF NOT BY WHOM as well as why...

... apk

Re:HBGary email that ought 2 concern U ALL (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about 3 years ago | (#37056688)

I love you APK.

Re:HBGary email that ought 2 concern U ALL (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37057148)

Sockpuppet armies are already in use. BoA used some to mark torrents of their leaked info on TPB as fake. This was around the same time those emails were leaked.

Re:HBGary email that ought 2 concern U ALL (2)

anyGould (1295481) | about 3 years ago | (#37057448)

Where I think the counter to sockpuppets is in sites like Stack Exchange, where everything is based around your "reputation" (really just a score of how much you've done, and what other experienced users think of your contributions).

From a purely "let's keep the jackasses out" perspective, it works well - it beats the sock puppets by requiring them to invest enough in the system before they have access to do anything too annoying. Creating a second account when you're banned? Sure - but you have to rebuild your reputation from scratch.

The problem I see is that we're far too willing to believe 100 people we've never heard of over 10 who you can see have been around for a while.

A fake problem indeed (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | about 3 years ago | (#37056372)

Especially considering that as long as you don't pick an overtly false name, you won't be banned. I know people that use fake names on facebook and google+, and they haven't had problems. If this comes down to human rights and privacy, pick a name that isn't obviously false. It doesn't get at the root of the problem, and the managers of these networks never will, but it's a simple solution to use until these social networks realize how futile these bans really are.

Re:A fake problem indeed (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 years ago | (#37056852)

Voluntarily using a service has nothing to do with human rights. There is no basic human right to blogging. Social networks are PRIVATELY run companies, they can run their network as they see fit. If you choose to participate, i dont see why you cant follow the rules. If you dont like the rules, DONT USE THE FUCKING SERVICE. THre are plenty of places on the interwebs to be private, use them. Its like all these feebs who are now discovering how to talk to each other online but never had the experiences of forums, IRC, ICQ etc etc. so they have no idea how to conduct their business privately. THey want privacy brought to them while they disclose everything.

misguided author (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056404)

The author seems to think that the social networks have this rule because somehow it betters mankind. Obviously that is not true, the reason is that it betters the social media to have more accurate information about you.
This whole article misses the point entirely.

So what follows? (3, Interesting)

franciscohs (1003004) | about 3 years ago | (#37056478)

I wonder what follows to real names.

Real profile picture photo?
Real town, school, work place?

Why?, does it make any difference to advertisers to have a name attached to a profile?, would they target that specific product differently if my name is A or B?, I would guess they will try to sell to who I am, and that doesn't change with my name...

Re:So what follows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056888)

It doesn't. It maters to the real people looking for your profile because they know your real name:

long lost acquaintances
new acquaintances
HR at your company
The students in your class
The teachers who teach your classes
etc.

Some of those you may not want to find you but some of those you might. And Facebook wants all of them to fund you because making connections (and making it easy to make connections) is what Facebook does.

What constitutes a "real" name? (2)

robbyjo (315601) | about 3 years ago | (#37056490)

What constitutes a "real" name? Take a look at Sun Yat-Sen [wikipedia.org] , for example. Which one do you think is THE real name? The original name? Baby name? Genealogy name? Courtesy name? School name? Eventually, Sun Yat-Sen was famed in China because of the pseudoname he used in Japan. And Yat-Sen itself is a school name.

I have a false name (3, Insightful)

gubers33 (1302099) | about 3 years ago | (#37056578)

I think it is needed because even though I have locked down my security settings as much as possible I know that HR people snoop around too much. I use my nickname from when I played football and rugby. I am only friends with my friends and family who know this nickname, so I don't think I am hiding behind. Am I hiding from HR and background companies that snoop out on social networks, absolutely. I don't have to the social network so my employer or potential employer can look for photos of me drinking or what not. Maybe if HR did not look for things not related to work or background companies didn't exist or security settings were actually real fake names wouldn't be needed. However, they do and fake names are needed

Can't have fake names on facebook? Yeah you can... (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about 3 years ago | (#37056634)

My friend in college couldn't make a facebook account because his last name was "Queen", and facebook deemed it fake.
That, however, was a few years ago, he's since made a profile (and myself 2 fake ones), so I assumed that the restriction on fake names was lifted.

Re:Can't have fake names on facebook? Yeah you can (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056830)

first name drag? or prom?

stalking survivors? (1)

Markizs (674865) | about 3 years ago | (#37056646)

Stalking survivors? Er? Is it possible _not_ to survive stalking?

Re:stalking survivors? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#37057012)

You bet your ass. At some point the stalker may decide that if they can't have you, nobody can...

soon only the police (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056698)

will be allowed to be anonymous and have fake id. The age of the Spooks. U're future is going to suck unless
you change it. It sucked in the USSR, don't know why you people would want it here

Right to privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056722)

I got banned from a site for not using my real name, I was astonished. I rarely use my real name, for obvious privacy reasons, and security. Data is too easily accessible and insecure on the internet. In the old days everyone used aliases. People are so stupid these days they probably give out their real phone # online too.

best argument against real names: (3, Informative)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 3 years ago | (#37056792)

it's bad for business. the same policy killed friendster:

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20071101/194615.shtml [techdirt.com]

friendster started deleting fake names. this was the height of friendster's popularity, 2003. so people left in droves for this new funky site called "myspace"

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20030813/2010251.shtml [techdirt.com]

1. if you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it, GOOGLE PLUS I'M TALKING TO YOU

2. the BOTTOM LINE you idiots. this policy hurts your BOTTOM LINE. just ask friendster, circa 2003

Re:best argument against real names: (1)

Uhhhh oh ya! (1000660) | about 3 years ago | (#37057028)

and myspace allowed you to change your name to whatever you wanted whenever you wanted and people left in droves to facebook which has managed to keep growing at a rapid pace despite all the complaining and all the other startup sites popping up that don't require your real name. Either people secretly like using their real name or it is uncorrelated to whether a site fails or succeeds.

Re:best argument against real names: (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 3 years ago | (#37057528)

there were a lot more factors in myspace's demise

but take two sites, of equal featureset and user experience, but one allows fake names, and one doesn't: the one that allow fake names wins

There's no place like 127.0.0.1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37056900)

Unable to connect
                    Firefox can't establish a connection to the server at www.facebook.com.

    The site could be temporarily unavailable or too busy. Try again in a few
        moments.
    If you are unable to load any pages, check your computer's network
        connection.
    If your computer or network is protected by a firewall or proxy, make sure
        that Firefox is permitted to access the Web.

Adding 127.0.0.1 www.facebook.com to your internal DNS solves all sorts of issues. At home and on your portable devices, add this to your /etc/hosts. It works perfectly.

They have a bigger problem in fake people (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 3 years ago | (#37056914)

I have a series of 30 fake Facebook accounts that I created back in the day for Farmville (before I came to my senses and quit that particular timesink.) They all have legit looking names at first glance, such as Betty Farmer or Charlie Gardener, using the eLouai Candybar Dollmaker to generate unique looking profile pics. They all have working email addresses generated from my personal domain. The login information was shared with about 20 other people for Farmville purposes, and the accounts are still in use by those silly people still playing. (The accounts also now play Mafia Wars and a bunch of other games.) Other than an initial "this email address doesn't appear to be valid" notice and verification check, Facebook has been mum about these highly suspicious looking accounts.

Why do they have to be everything to everyone? (1)

jbarr (2233) | about 3 years ago | (#37056964)

What I don't understand is why there is the constant expectation that every service offered MUST provide for everyone.

If a social network doesn't permit fake names, and you want to use a fake name, then go elsewhere. If there is no elsewhere, then isn't this a great opportunity for some entrepreneur to create an anonymous social network?

I demand that SyFy starts using its real name! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37057056)

We all know that Syfy is really the Sci-Fi channel. Why do they think they have to hide behind an alias. They claim that somehow people were not able to find them by their real name when “Sci-Fi” was typed into a search engine. They want us to believe that somehow the oddly spelled alias “SyFy” gives then an unique and searchable identity in this digital age; that the alias somehow actually makes them more recognizable and less anonymous.

I don’t buy it I am 1000000000% certain that that they are using the alias to bully and trick their fan base into watching movies like Sharktopus.

All jesting aside, If the SyFy can change its name for the digital age to become more recognizable and unique then so can people.
Demanding people display their real names online is not identity vetting. Vet my identity correctly and accurately then you should know me by my alias without needing my real name to be listed publicly.

They are lying about why they want everyone to use their real names. Just ask Bob Smith about what happens when he uses his real name online.

the way it's going call it nbc sports network 2 (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 years ago | (#37057288)

Move ninja warrior from g4 to it + pick up all hunting and other lesser sports from versus and kill the poor PQ universal sports sub channel and move all the stuff on it to nbc sports network 2.

Seinfeld (1)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | about 3 years ago | (#37057236)

Is anyone else reminded of the Seinfeld episode where the whole apartment building had pictures up and Jerry didn't want his picture up? Or when Jerry didn't want to use a name tag? Real life is anonymity, you don't instantly know someone's name just because you walked up and talked to them. Did Voltare or The Artist (formerly known as Prince) have any problem hiding under their pseudonyms? I mean I can list great people who used pseudonyms all day long!

If I walk up and introduce myself as Ted, and strike up a conversation with you, you've now established a reputation with Ted. Not knowing that my name is actually Coolhand2120 is not going to change my reputation with you. Not knowing that I've said other things to other people as someone else is really none of your business anyway.

Needing to know what I've said to everyone is the product of a over inquisitive busy bodies. The fact the government wants to track what you're saying on the internet should give anyone paranoia. Do I have to register with my real name and government ID card before I talk in a town square now? The action (if it were to be purposed by government) in and of itself should be a violation of my right to free speech.


Frederick Bastiat (1801-1850) The Law [constitution.org]

Then Don't use the service. (1)

digitalPhant0m (1424687) | about 3 years ago | (#37057362)

I don't know why people get their f'ing panties in a bunch over crap like this.

If you don't like a company's policies, then don't use the service. It's that simple.

If you don't want HR to find you doing god-knows-what with god-knows-who online, then don't post it online for everyone to see. It's that simple.

I may see Facebooks point (2)

Uhhhh oh ya! (1000660) | about 3 years ago | (#37057488)

For a long time I was in agreement that requiring real names was pointless, against privacy, blah blah blah.... More recently however I have begun to think otherwise, these social networking sites are based around YOUR identity, that way people find you, recognize you, and identify with you. I got sick of myspace because many people where changing their names weekly, trying to incorporate as many random characters as possible. Actually finding people I knew became next to impossible, on facebook I have found people I haven't talked to in years by recognizing their name.

As stated, there isn't really anything stopping you from using a fake name, in truth the only thing it really requires is that the name you choose looks real and that you don't change it often. I'm fine with that, there are people I know who have a made up name that they use on every site, that has become the identity I know them by online, and they feel safe in the knowledge that it is separate from their offline life.

All Im really saying is that I don't see many legitimate arguments against real names, as many people have pointed out its not really enforced, especially if your name looks legitimate. More people are accidentally banned by a bunch of people getting mad at the person and flagging the profile than facebook stumbling on to your name and locking the account. On the other hand the supposed rule of you having an identity that you are in some effect standing behind is what sets these social sites apart from all the forums filled with trolls.

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