Google+ Drops Real Names Policy


When Google+ launched just over three years ago, one of their main areas of enforcement was that of people use real names for their accounts. As of today, Google has dropped this policy and has removed restrictions on what name you can use on your Google+ account.

We know you’ve been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today’s change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be. Thank you for expressing your opinions so passionately, and thanks for continuing to make Google+ the thoughtful community that it is.

Google+ has slowly been heading towards this as they’ve allowed various names for Google+ Business Pages; and after their initial merging of the Google+ comment system into YouTube have allowed YouTube users to use their existing YouTube usernames on Google+.

For some users, this will be a much welcomed change as it will allow them to be a part of the Google+ community yet remain somewhat anonymous at the same time. For other users however, one of the fundamental benefits of Google+ was the fact that users were required to use their real names (albeit many people found ways around this), which added to a more “real” sense of community. There are definitely some cases in which a legitimate user would want to remain anonymous – for example posting about real time events within their country which could have dire consequences if they were to post under their real identity. However, as is usually the case with anonymity on the internet, this may open the floodgates for various troll and spam accounts – and as a result have a negative effect on the Google+ community experience.

Check out the Google+ FAQ for more information on how to create or change your Google+ profile name.

Let us know what you think about Google’s real name policy change and how you think it might effect the Google+ community as a whole in the comments below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.

  Source: Google+
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