Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Facebook: anonymity is for trolls

Julie Zhou of Facebook would like to rid the internet of anonymity:

Some may argue that denying Internet users the ability to post anonymously is a breach of their privacy and freedom of expression. But until the age of the Internet, anonymity was a rare thing. When someone spoke in public, his audience would naturally be able to see who was talking.

Others point out that there’s no way to truly rid the Internet of anonymity. After all, names and e-mail addresses can be faked. And in any case many commenters write things that are rude or inflammatory under their real names.

It's hardly a surprise that a product design manager from Facebook thinks anonymity is something we might all want to get rid of. After all, the company makes money selling personal information and has been notorious for it's lack of concern about it's member's privacy.

Still, it's hard to believe she hasn't heard that even today there are very real reasons for people to write anonymously. And she'll be happy to know that her concerns about anonymous trolls are shared by the governments of Iran, Egypt and China.

But anonymity was rare thing until recently? Has she never heard of Poor Richard? Or Publius?

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