It’s pretty well know that Google+ doesn’t allow people to use nicknames in their profiles. They claim that this will protect users from the “bad intentions” of evil hackers or spammers. This is just nonsense. This basically shows a lack of understanding of what a nick name means and how the use of a nickname can harm users.
If someone want to be anonymous with the intention to do something bad and get undiscovered, the worst thing to do is using a nickname. That romantic idea of a dangerous hacker with a cool nickname, chased by authorities, working in the night in humid and dirty abandoned apartments is unreal… This is not Hollywood! Matrix was just a movie… Hello! Google, knock knock please wake up…
In real life, far before Internet, people used and still use what is called a “fake identity” to make the task of authorities harder. I suggest to see this movie to understand what being an anonymous outlaw means. This means using a fake name, a name that looks real but it’s not a real one.
So is Google really checking if the name in the profile of some user is the real one? How are they going to check that? Are they asking the scanned copy of users passports? Are they asking to introduce your credit card number? Or, maybe, they will send someone to your home to confirm… your identity? Come on, please let’s be serious. If Google really wants to enforce and assure that users use their real names, so go ahead and implement real security measures to be 100% sure that the user is not using a fake identity. (Of course they will loose almost all their users if they do that, though) But if Google is not going to really check G+ profile identities, please stop wasting your time closing accounts and focus on many of the issues that people, for free, is asking you to improve.
Then look at this, in their privacy terms:
In order to use Google+, you need to have a public Google Profile visible to the world, which at a minimum includes the name you chose for the profile. That name will be used across Google services and in some cases it may replace another name you’ve used when sharing content under your Google Account. We may display your Google Profile identity to people who have your email address or other identifying information.
Posts and other content shared by or with you – such as photos of you – may be visible on your profile to those with whom that content has been shared. You can use the profile editor to see how your profile appears to particular individuals.
“…which at a minimum includes the name you chose for the profile…”
Did you read that? The name you chose for the profile. I don’t see any indication to use my real name or “…by using a nick name your account will be suspended…”
This policy does not affect me personally, I used to write my real name everywhere, but I understand that many people have good reasons not to do so.
I just would like to see a little bit of common sense. For web illiterate people, this policy, shared among other social media platforms like Facebook, has a direct impact creating a wrong vision of how “identity” works on the web. People may do the wrong assumption like: people with nicknames = bad, people with “real” names = good. This policy is sending a wrong message, making people believe that by writing a “real name” you can trust that profile.
If somebody want to abuse the system, I can assure you, he/she doesn’t need a nick name to do so.