One of the major concerns people have had with Google+ is that users could not use a nickname or a fake name as their name on the social media platform. Instead, Google+ had a strict policy that only real names were allowed. Google+ has now made the change that opens up the platform to names other than a person’s real name.
“We know you’ve been calling for this change for a while,” the company wrote on a Google+ post about the change. “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.”
Changing the name in Google+ will also change it across the entire Google+ account. So this could have an impact with accounts such as Google AdWords and Google AdSense that are legally tied to financial information for payments to and from Google.
Due to Google’s strict “real names only” policy, there were privacy issues raised, such as teenagers whose parents did not want them using their real name, as well as those who wished to be on Google+ under a well known persona instead of their real name. And there were incidents of transgendered people outted inadvertently through Google+.
They had loosened up the policy more recently, especially for YouTube. “Over the years, as Google+ grew and its community became established, we steadily opened up this policy, from allowing +Page owners to use any name of their choosing to letting YouTube users bring their usernames into Google+” says Google.
Now, anyone can change their name. However, one negative aspect of allowing fake names is that many feel it will increase the number of trolls active on the platform because it is now much easier to hide behind fake names, although it wasn’t impossible to do so before.
This is a welcome change, although it remains to be seen if this change will increase popularity or usage amongst social media users, in a world where Facebook and Twitter reign supreme.
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