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Should Google+ Users be Anonymous?

09.07.11

Google’s Eric Schmidt said in a recent interview that Google+ users should be not be anonymous since it would be better “if we had an accurate notion that you were a real person as opposed to a dog, or a fake person, or a spammer.” Schmidt’s comments thoughts reinforce one of my favorite New Yorker cartoons from 1993 with two dogs sitting in front of a computer with one saying to the other “on the Internet nobody knows you’re a dog!”

Schmidt’s interview is posted at Google+  which now has an estimated 25 million users also included these thoughts:

But my general rule is that is people have a lot of free time and people on the Internet, there are people who do really really evil and wrong things on the Internet, and it would be useful if we had strong identity so we could weed them out. I’m not suggesting eliminating them, what I’m suggesting is if we knew their identity was accurate, we could rank them. Think of them like an identity rank.

Since we really have no clue who is using the Internet and Social Media whether a dog or an evil person maybe Eric Schmidt is right that forcing people to identify themselves would be better. But in his interview included the following:

But we want people to stand for something, we want people to be willing to express themselves. There are obviously people for which using their real name is not appropriate, and it’s completely optional, and if you’re one of those people don’t do it.

Clearly the debate about anonymity will continue, so stay tuned.

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