Google VPs Discuss Google+ “Real Name” Rapture Fiasco

Call it the Real Name Rapture: the mass disappearance of untold numbers of Google+ users over the weekend for what many outlets reported were violations of Google’s community standards policy.

Call it the Real Name Rapture: the mass disappearance of untold numbers of Google+ users over the weekend for what many outlets reported were violations of Google’s community standards policy.

Rather than getting taken up, however, it appears that Google was cracking down – on funky names, pseudoynms, and overtly frisky social networking behavior.

Now, with hundreds or even thousands of innocent Google+ early adopters caught in the net, including the likes of actor William Shatner (say it ain’t so!), Google’s brass has taken notice and is trying to mend fences with users of its fast growing, but still nascent social network.

Vic Gundotra, Google’s Senior VP of Social has taken up the banner of Google’s real-name crusade and is trying to explain the company’s decision to delete Google Plus accounts en masse.

In a post on his Google+ profile, technology blogger Robert Scoble reported on Sunday that he’d discussed the ongoing debacle with Gundotra, a former colleague of his at Microsoft.

Google’s war on pseudonyms isn’t an effort to force users to use their real names, so much as an attempt to suspend users who use weird spellings or “obviously fake names” Gundotra told the influential blogger.

He went on to claim that Google+ is trying to set a positive tone, comparing the social network’s rules to “when a restaurant doesn’t allow people who aren’t wearing shirts to enter.” Gundotra admitted that Google had made some mistakes with Google+ but claimed it was a learning process.

On Tuesday, Bradley Horowitz, Google’s VP of Product, shed further light on the situation. In a post on his Google+ profile, he broke down a potential strategy going forward to notify users that may be violating the company’s policy. Horowitz proposed warning users instead of immediately suspending their profile. By giving them tips on how to edit their names, Google could give users another opportunity to abide by the rules in advance of a suspension, he said.

Horowitz added that he hopes to improve the service’s initial sign up process to prevent issues like this from occurring down the line. He also suggested those wishing to include maiden names or nicknames on their profile add them to the “Other names” section of their G+ profile.

The social media platform, while still in its infancy, has been praised for its usability and interface.

Google made no secret of its intention to shut out pseudonyms from Google+ and to cancel private profiles once the new social network took wing.While Google+ emphasizes both privacy with its ‘circles’ feature, it was clear from the beginning pseudonyms were not going to be welcome on the burgeoning service.  Google isn’t alone. Other networks, including Facebook, also prohibit (or at least frown upon) the use of fake names.

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Discussion

  • Anonymous on

    It's easy to see why they don't want fake names. They want to sell your info, and fake names are not valuable. They want to link the accounts to your comments and things you do elsewhere. They want to use social networks to "investigate" you. All the more reason I would want to have a fake identity. What if they didn't allow fake identities for the people in Arab Spring? It is inconcievable for most people that the powers that be want you to be intimidated in what you say online, but this smacks exactly of that. In the past, someone would think twice about not hiring me because of an editorial i wrote in the local paper. Now they can look you up online and use any excuse not to hire you. It's the begining of the end for whistleblowers, too. Sure, they can eliminate a lot of trolling, but at what cost? Oh yeah, we already gave up all our freedoms with the Patriot Act. 

  • Anonymous on

    No one is forcing you to join Google+. If you don't like their policies, then don't sign up.

  • Anonymous on

    No one is forcing you to join Google+. If you don't like their policies, then don't sign up.

  • Anonymous on

    No one is forcing you to join Google+. If you don't like their policies, then don't sign up.

  • Anonymous on

    I doubt Google needs your real name to connect the Google+ account to other online activity.....
  • Anonymous on

    Your Life as you know it is being unionized and everything you say or do can and will be held against you. They are keeping a sharp eye on us and it seems this is another marketing ploy for google to spread its tirany across the globe. Google is trying to become a part of everything.. giving it too much power. WE ALL know what power does to people. 2+2=4 ..... Do the math

  • Anonymous on

    I used my real name and they locked that out.  Getting it right isn't easy with that many users. But they flubbed badly in my case.

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