Saturday, August 18, 2012

Randi Zuckerberg: Anonymity on the Internet has to go away

Originally posted 07/29/2011 on

Bianca Bosker at the Huffington post tells us that Randi Zuckerberg, Facebook marketing director and Mark Zuckerberg's sister, believes anomymity on the internet has to go away. Bianca quotes Randi as saying:

“I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away,” she said during a panel discussion on social media hosted Tuesday evening by Marie Claire magazine. “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.

Miss Zuckerberg also alleges that requiring people to use their real names will end cyberbullying. Apparently she was never bullied on the playground growing up. For that matter, she must not have paid attention to things going on on Facebook the last few years.

The Toronto Sun reports that a 16 year old girl will be sentenced on August 15th for stabbing another 16 year old girl after making threats on Facebook. After stabbing the other girl she went home and threatened to do worse if the other girl messed with her again.

A little over a month ago I told you about Jason Valdez, who holed up in a motel room with a (maybe) hostage and talked about his police standoff on Facebook while friends and family informed him of police movements. Jason's account was in his real name, and I'm pretty sure most of the others were, too.

And for good measure, we have London Eley, who I told you about a week earlier than Mr. Valdez. Miss Eley tried to hire a hitman on Facebook. Her Facebook account is down now, but I visited it when I first read the story. It was easy to find because she used her real name.

While using real names can make it easier to find people who are doing wrong, using real names does little to prevent bad behavior. Requiring real names on Facebook has not stopped bad behavior. It would be hard to say real names have even slowed bad behavior down. Why would anyone expect "real name only" policies to work any better on the internet at large than they do on Facebook?