No pseudonyms allowed

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Hugo Roy

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Oct 4, 2012, 12:35:58 PM10/4/12
to tosdr
Hi,

This is a unified point for services which require you to express
yourself under your legal name.
[mediocre]
You must use your legal name publicly on the service. Using a
pseudonym or a pen name is not allowed. This can have negative
consequences on the freedom of expression, especially for people
who exercise certain professions, or who live in certain
countries.

This point supersedes:
* Facebook
https://groups.google.com/d/topic/tosdr/gOTE95JnvCk/discussion
* Xing
https://groups.google.com/d/topic/tosdr/_he1077OGTY/discussion
--
Hugo Roy
French Coordinator, FSFE chat: hu...@jabber.fsfe.org
www.fsfe.org/about/roy mobile: +336 08 74 13 41
mobile DE: +49 151 143 56 563

askebi...@gmail.com

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Aug 29, 2015, 1:46:05 PM8/29/15
to Terms of Service; Didn't Read

I don't think "no pseudonyms allowed" are necessarily an overall bad thing, neither a non-obvious thing. From a quick glance at Facebook, it's pretty clear that pseudonyms are almost exclusively used by fake profiles and spampots.

I understand how pseudonyms can protect some people, who would like free speech, but cannot for whatever reason.
But disallowing pseudonyms also allow you to know that what they say is something they're not afraid to take responsibility for. When you talk with someone on Facebook, you can be far more sure, that you're talking to a person who is who he says he is, and thus, you avoid some parts of "trolling", i.e. pretending to be someone you're not, in the effort to trick people.
That can still happen on Facebook, of course, but I think it's enough to not make it a conclusively negative thing.

And it's clearly possible to find places to by anynomous elsewhere, and still reach a big audience. After all, the vast majority of sites allow pseudonyms, including social media sites.

Hugo Roy

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Aug 31, 2015, 2:31:34 AM8/31/15
to to...@googlegroups.com
↪ 2015-08-29 Sat 19:46, askebi...@gmail.com <askebi...@gmail.com>:
>
> I don't think "no pseudonyms allowed" are necessarily an overall bad
> thing, neither a non-obvious thing.

Yes, it depends on the context. We're not saying that not allowing
pseudonyms in all circumstances is a bad thing.

> From a quick glance at Facebook, it's pretty clear that pseudonyms
> are almost exclusively used by fake profiles and spampots.

I do not use Facebook, but I have read elsewhere that this is
absolutely not the case. In any event, the behaviour of spambot isn't
a good standard to judge whether the rule is good or not, spambots are
just designed to abuse rules anyway.

> I understand how pseudonyms can protect some people, who would like free speech, but cannot for whatever reason.

And this is an important issue for Facebook, considering that it's
probably the most general and large platform allowing people to
publish on the web today.

> But disallowing pseudonyms also allow you to know that what they say is something they're not afraid to take responsibility for. When you talk with someone on Facebook, you can be far more sure, that you're talking to a person who is who he says he is, and thus, you avoid some parts of "trolling", i.e. pretending to be someone you're not, in the effort to trick people.

I do not think that disallowing pseudoyms is really working in
Facebook to protect against trolling. Does it?

In any case, for the reason stated above, I don't think that this
alone is enough to dismiss the fact that disallowing pseudonyms harm
the freedom to speak of some people and that it's too important to
ignore.


> That can still happen on Facebook, of course, but I think it's enough to not make it a conclusively negative thing.

I suppose we disagree. I'm interested in knowing what others would
think here, but I want to also make clear that ToS;DR is also biased
in favour of users’ rights online, and raising awareness regarding
what's in the terms. Now, considering the amount of legitimate users
who want to use pseudonyms in Facebook and considering the amount of
these users who actually *do* use pseudonyms: I think they're entitled
to know that unfortunately Facebook does not allow pseudos in their
terms (when we checked--has this changed? The ToS have changed so the
analysis is out of date at the moment).

> And it's clearly possible to find places to by anynomous elsewhere, and still reach a big audience. After all, the vast majority of sites allow pseudonyms, including social media sites.

I don't think there's anything quite as large as Facebook for this.


Thanks for your input,

--
Hugo Roy
Project Lead, Terms of Service; Didn't Read https://www.tosdr.org

Please use cryptography for email: see https://emailselfdefense.fsf.org/en/
Merci d’utiliser la cryptographie pour l’email : voir https://emailselfdefense.fsf.org/fr/
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askebi...@gmail.com

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Aug 31, 2015, 4:41:04 AM8/31/15
to Terms of Service; Didn't Read
Den mandag den 31. august 2015 kl. 08.31.34 UTC+2 skrev Hugo Roy:
> ↪ 2015-08-29 Sat 19:46, askebi...@gmail.com <askebi...@gmail.com>:
> >
> > I don't think "no pseudonyms allowed" are necessarily an overall bad
> > thing, neither a non-obvious thing.
>
> Yes, it depends on the context. We're not saying that not allowing
> pseudonyms in all circumstances is a bad thing.
>
> > From a quick glance at Facebook, it's pretty clear that pseudonyms
> > are almost exclusively used by fake profiles and spampots.
>
> I do not use Facebook, but I have read elsewhere that this is
> absolutely not the case. In any event, the behaviour of spambot isn't
> a good standard to judge whether the rule is good or not, spambots are
> just designed to abuse rules anyway.
>
Well, that's how it used to be. Now that you mention it, you are right that it's not the case any longer. Facebook is also allowing nicknames now (Settings->Edit Name->Add Another Name->Nickname), so I guess they're moving slightly away from it.

> > I understand how pseudonyms can protect some people, who would like free speech, but cannot for whatever reason.
>
> And this is an important issue for Facebook, considering that it's
> probably the most general and large platform allowing people to
> publish on the web today.
>

Facebook would not be likely to have existed if not for the real names. Remember that it only got so popular, because it was something exclusive, and something personal. And I'm not sure it's a strong enough platform that they'll keep being popular if they allowed pseudonyms. Because something usually happens when a majority starts using pseudonyms: it becomes scary to have you real name, since most people choose not to. So how could you trust people with your real name if they don't?

> > But disallowing pseudonyms also allow you to know that what they say is something they're not afraid to take responsibility for. When you talk with someone on Facebook, you can be far more sure, that you're talking to a person who is who he says he is, and thus, you avoid some parts of "trolling", i.e. pretending to be someone you're not, in the effort to trick people.
>
> I do not think that disallowing pseudoyms is really working in
> Facebook to protect against trolling. Does it?
>
> In any case, for the reason stated above, I don't think that this
> alone is enough to dismiss the fact that disallowing pseudonyms harm
> the freedom to speak of some people and that it's too important to
> ignore.
>
I think it does protect against trolling. But it doesn't protect fully of course. But trolling also usually occurs from people who have a profile picture of something that isn't themselves (an object, or a place for example), which means that you can know that people who are not ready to be open about themselves, don't have a picture of themselves. I think it does make a difference.


>
> > That can still happen on Facebook, of course, but I think it's enough to not make it a conclusively negative thing.
>
> I suppose we disagree. I'm interested in knowing what others would
> think here, but I want to also make clear that ToS;DR is also biased
> in favour of users’ rights online, and raising awareness regarding
> what's in the terms. Now, considering the amount of legitimate users
> who want to use pseudonyms in Facebook and considering the amount of
> these users who actually *do* use pseudonyms: I think they're entitled
> to know that unfortunately Facebook does not allow pseudos in their
> terms (when we checked--has this changed? The ToS have changed so the
> analysis is out of date at the moment).
>
I don't disagree with that. I think it's good to inform users about this. The reason I have the ToS;DR plugin as well, is because I'm not great at going through the ToS.

> > And it's clearly possible to find places to by anynomous elsewhere, and still reach a big audience. After all, the vast majority of sites allow pseudonyms, including social media sites.
>
> I don't think there's anything quite as large as Facebook for this.

I think Facebook is the biggest place, yes. But what is "for this"? I think it really depends on what your purpose is. If you're a company, there's no point in pseudonyms of course (unless you're trying to phish). And if you're a (human) person, I can't think of many (if any) scenarios where you can do something on Facebook, that you can't do elsewhere. At least, I can't think of any features where Facebook would be useful for someone who wanted to be anonymous. Because there's forums for all kinds of things. Reddit being one of the big platforms (suicide hotlines, anonymous addicts, sensitive sexuality subjects, religion change from fundamentalist families - and many more). And for news, there's twitter. And for social interaction in very specific subjects, there's all the many forums that exist.

Maybe for the games? Or events?
Although I think the games are hardly good enough to attract a lot of people for that to be relevant - and I have difficulty imagining many cases where it's relevant (from a protect-user-rights perspective) to by anonymous when discussing an event. Perhaps demonstrations? That's all I can think of. Because if it's more private than that, then there's no useful idea in using Facebook.

So I guess, I just don't understand why someone would want to be anonymous on a platform, that is mostly useful, because you're not anonymous.



>
>
> Thanks for your input,

Thank you for your reply as well!

Kind regards, Aske B. Vammen

Hugo Roy

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Aug 31, 2015, 9:34:30 AM8/31/15
to to...@googlegroups.com
↪ 2015-08-31 Mon 10:41, askebi...@gmail.com <askebi...@gmail.com>:
> Facebook would not be likely to have existed if not for the real
> names.

I do not think that allowing pseudonyms would have really lower the
success of Facebook in terms of size. Why do I think that? Because in
spite of the policy to exclude pseudonyms, a lot of users on Facebook
do not use their real name anyway.

> > I don't think there's anything quite as large as Facebook for this.
>
> I think Facebook is the biggest place, yes. But what is "for this"?

With Facebook, anyone can easily publish posts without having to
configure a server or a blog. It's very easy and it has a massive
size. By “this” I meant “publishing on the Web for individuals”, which
is what I believe Facebook is mainly (in terms of what it's used for
by the majority of users).

> So I guess, I just don't understand why someone would want to be anonymous on a platform, that is mostly useful, because you're not anonymous.

An important distinction to make: this is not about anonymity. Someone
with a pseudonym is not anonymous. Anonymous means "no name" at all
whereas, with a pseudonym, you have a name; it's just not the same name
that the State has registered for you.

There are a lot of people who are actually known under a pseudonym
more than under their “civil name”.


But maybe this rule is not up to date, can you check the terms today
regarding what users are allowed to do with pseudonyms?

Thank you,
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askebi...@gmail.com

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Aug 31, 2015, 12:30:57 PM8/31/15
to Terms of Service; Didn't Read
Den mandag den 31. august 2015 kl. 15.34.30 UTC+2 skrev Hugo Roy:
> ↪ 2015-08-31 Mon 10:41, askebis...@gmail.com <askebis...@gmail.com>:
> I do not think that allowing pseudonyms would have really lower the
> success of Facebook in terms of size. Why do I think that? Because in
> spite of the policy to exclude pseudonyms, a lot of users on Facebook
> do not use their real name anyway.

I think there's a big difference between the purpose. The vast majority of the people I know that don't use their real name, just use a nickname, but their friends still know who they really are.
If pseudonyms were the norm, then I'd find it likely that you'd lose the knowledge of whether each profile represented one person (or e.g. if people used multiple identities) and whether that person is actually someone you really know or not. There's a big difference between social interaction on the Internet, with strangers, or with people you also know in real life. (Presumably due to missing body language, vocal tone etc.)

And since Facebook was made famous because it was exclusively for students who could confirm their identity, it has always been about the personal identity. Somewhat like LinkedIn, but for spare time. Now there's a lot of other things there, since the commercial industry really took part in it, but I for one can by no means presume that Facebook would stand strong, if pseudonyms were explicitly allowed. At least not in the long run.

> With Facebook, anyone can easily publish posts without having to
> configure a server or a blog. It's very easy and it has a massive
> size. By “this” I meant “publishing on the Web for individuals”, which
> is what I believe Facebook is mainly (in terms of what it's used for
> by the majority of users).

But twitter and reddit are also very large platforms that can do this, right? They both allow pseudonyms.

>
> > So I guess, I just don't understand why someone would want to be anonymous on a platform, that is mostly useful, because you're not anonymous.
>
> An important distinction to make: this is not about anonymity. Someone
> with a pseudonym is not anonymous. Anonymous means "no name" at all
> whereas, with a pseudonym, you have a name; it's just not the same name
> that the State has registered for you.

Sure, but the distinction is mostly important for those with the power to investigate the background of a certain online identity.
To must people, it's just an alias - like wearing a mask at a masquerade.
You can still be personal with a mask on, but never quite as personal (showing strong responsibility for your actions). And you can also be very impersonal and rude, and easily get away with it, because you're just another random identity.

>
> There are a lot of people who are actually known under a pseudonym
> more than under their “civil name”.

I know. Especially Internet celebrities. Captain Sparkles is one example. But to my understanding, it's not against the terms to have a profile that represents an online identity - especially not if it's famous. At least, I've seen many examples of this - and Captain Sparklez is one of those.

I don't understand why it's explicitly important to have a separate identity all across the Internet though?
I know many of my (older) family members wouldn't use Facebook if it wasn't personal.

It's not that I agree with everything the Facebook culture does by the way - I just wondered why this pseudonym part was shown as definitely negative.

> But maybe this rule is not up to date, can you check the terms today
> regarding what users are allowed to do with pseudonyms?

Sorry, I'm not great at that. It's not that important to me either. I'm sure it is to someone, who'll then look at it.

Thanks for the discussion.

wawrzynia...@gmail.com

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Dec 22, 2019, 8:13:27 PM12/22/19
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