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Thursday, February 05, 2015


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Wizard Gynoid

So because there are a few bad apples, the rest of us have to suffer? I would like to see a study that tells us how many people are using pseudonyms, and out of that number how many are abusing it. I would like to see this on Twitter. I would also like to see it on Facebook users, as we know that a HUGE number of Facebook user names are "fake." If the percentage of abusers is trivial in number, then it simply becomes a cost of doing business, so the rest of us can take advantage of our *right* to privacy.

Tracy RedAngel

I think it's a fair argument to say that it's not so much they anonymity policy as their blocking policy.

Wagner James Au

"If the percentage of abusers is trivial in number, then it simply becomes a cost of doing business, so the rest of us can take advantage of our *right* to privacy."

Tell that to the women being targeted by a few thousand (at most) anonymous GamerGaters which such vivaciousness, it's basically tied up the entire game industry in knots -- while also costing Twitter as a business.

Wagner James Au

Also, note that I said: "This isn't to say it's impossible to grow a service based on pseudonyms and anonymous accounts". I think it is possible, but Twitter's approach is not it, and it's not working.

Ciaran Laval

Twitter have it right on their naming policy. The longer you're on Twitter the more your name is tied with your words.

The worst possible thing that could happen for women (and men) who are being targeted by trolls would be for those trolls to more easily identify where they live and work.

Marianne McCann

I'm missing the part where the CEO claimed it was the pseudonyms that were the problem.

Wagner James Au

He was actually referring directly to a recent case where a user created a pseudonymous account to troll Lindy West. But good point, I added that in the excerpt above.

Deoridhe Quandry

He claimed the lack of good tools for handling abuse and trolling on Twitter was a problem. He said nothing about Pseudonyms.

What apparently opened his eyes was a troll impersonating the recently-deceased father of a woman in order to upset her further - which makes your headline doubly ironic since that is not a pseudonym but rather a claiming of someone else's offline identity to increase abuse.

To tie "abusive and trolling" to "pseudonym" not only does you great rhetorical disadvantage, it also ignores how pseudonyms have protected activists and individuals from retribution from their governments and allowed for more free discourse. It's consequences that need to be implemented, not pseudonyms removed, and the CEO of twitter never claimed otherwise.

Cube Republic

For twitter to be able to run a safe environment anonymity is out of the question. This is so the rule of law can be applied to criminals who abuse the service. Credit cards, google accounts or facebook linking will be sufficient to verify identity I would think.

Death threats are a crime, as is harassment, at least in the UK. (I'm not familiar with other countries laws.)


I don't feel witty trolling or disagreeing with someones opinion should be grounds for losing ones account. There should be a user layer of protection for this, in the form of blocking stuff that one finds offensive.

Users should still be able to be anonymous though and choose their own pseudonyms, keeping RLID free from the possibility of doxing.

Somewhat ironically, it will be the above that destroys twitter. The cash cow troll fest that feeds the beast will lose vast amounts of users when these measures are implemented. E.g., Users will leave in their droves. Why use twitter and have to plug in your credentials when you can go to reddit. Reddit is the Rolls Royce of time wasting social media. Facebook, twitter and plurk are like opening a really bright trashy as seen on TV magazine.

Cube Republic

Also I wish to add without anonymity twitter is just another facebook, and who really needs two social media accounts linked to rl?

Kitty Revolver

As someone who follows many pseudonym-based academic accounts on Twitter, (I am under my real name) I don't really mind as they are usually venting about the injustices of academia (and let me tell you...) although I tend to think of them in lower terms because they vent and vent and vent and that is all what they use it for. There are parody accounts which are fun @Theorybear and @shitacademicssay. I totally understand the need for non-legal names, especially in the LGB & trans* communities, so maybe there should be a policy closer to Facebook.

Cube: Most kids today have multiple social media (most media now has some social aspect so...) accounts attached their real life identities whether formally or informally. It is interesting to note that I find most adults are the ones looking for pseudonyms where as teens are more willing to put up real info (unless circumstances dictate otherwise). If teens are looking for anonymity it seems largely attached to trolling rather than adopting another hidden identity. While I understand for things like SL, why would you want to hide? To me that would question people's motives in "hiding" like the professors and grad students that are venting. Once they are found out they have to give up the account.

I know I will get asked this question, but I'm not hiding behind Kitty, rather I am using my SL identity to talk to other SL identities. The people that put their real names on Twitter expect to interact with other "real" identities. They didn't sign up to interact with trolls that aren't interfacing as "real."

Kitty Revolver

Cube: Most death threats on Twitter that are US based don't get much admin or police action.


I can't help but note that it's *exactly* the people who are being targeted by these groups that are the most vulnerable to having to provide "real" information.

Acting like this will somehow protect the targets of this abuse is um... let us say, unfounded.

There are numerous things Twitter could do to improve the abuse situation, if it desire to. The thing is, it's just not in the business interests to do so.

The truth is, I think, that they're *really* upset they don't have more user information to sell to marketers.

Arcadia Codesmith

I'm in another forum with a "real name" policy. It does not even slow the trolls down. They just use more "plausible" pseudonyms.

The ONLY way to control trolling is adequate and proactive moderation. There are tools that can help, but mostly you just have to hire, hire and hire some more. Congratulations, welcome to the ranks of the non-hypothetical job creators.

The leap between Costolo admitting there's a trolling issue and then pinning that on pseudonyms at best a shaky leap of faith with nothing but anecdotal support and at worst a case of utilizing a base emotional response against trolls to power an agenda that is about monetizing user information, not about preventing abuse.

Shockwave Yareach

Giving a real name and I'd to Twitter wouldn't bother me a bit. I don't mind Twitter knowing who I am.

But I DO object to every troll and drama punk on earth being able to know who I am, where I live, what I had for lunch, and who I lost my virginity to. If I say something someone doesn't like, say commenting on a certain prophets sex life way back when, I shouldn't have to fear for the lives of my family just because some crazy person decides his God needs his help in punishing me. Or for whatever reason any loon may flip out - maybe I mistyped a word on the day their medication ran out.

I'll i d to the owner of a network. The fellow users, I'll keep at arms length until I know the individuals better. You don't have to make your life an open book for strangers anymore than you have to leave your door unlocked at night. And for basically the same reasons.

Amanda Dallin

I don't see Twitter demanding RL IDs only for the same reason LL doesn't lower tier. They'd lose too much up front for possibly or even probably no gain. I suspect the number of active Twitter accounts would drop precipitously if they demanded RL IDs only.

Aliasi Stonebender

Yeah, this is another case of Hamlet's trademark conclusion-jumping; the problem with Twitter isn't "oh noes they allow pseudonyms!" but "oh noes they don't even pretend to follow an abuse policy and they don't include basic tools to try and control the flow".

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