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Facebook Privacy Social Networks Your Rights Online

Facebook Wants You To Snitch On Friends Not Using Their Real Name 304 304

Qedward writes "Freedom to go under a pseudonym is, miraculously, one freedom to survive the security lock-down of the previous decade. Now Facebook wants to change this. James Firth shows Facebook is clamping down on pseudonyms, with an interesting screenshot of being asked whether a friend is using their real name."
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Facebook Wants You To Snitch On Friends Not Using Their Real Name

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:13PM (#41416667)

    If you have comments you should post them as Anonymous... because we can.

    • by macbeth66 (204889) on Friday September 21, 2012 @08:34PM (#41417397)

      I do that now, with all of my email. Of course, it comes across as garbled garbage to my friends. Not that they would notice the difference as the garbage I write in emails is only slightly less crappier than what I post on Slashdot.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @08:56PM (#41417587)
      Anonymous is good, no doubt, but I'd say that pseudonyms are often better because a pseudonym, even if they are personally unknown, helps set context. Comments on issues which are complex often can't realistically be partitioned to be exhaustive in themselves. For some people here, at least, I'm familiar with their basic worldview from their other posts, and their comment or argument can placed in that wider context for deeper consideration, at least implicitly.

      I want to keep both, and at least in terms of productive discussion of topics upon which all parties don't already agree, the 'net will be dead to me the day these are lost.
      • by icebike (68054) * on Friday September 21, 2012 @09:20PM (#41417751)

        Anonymous is good, no doubt, but I'd say that pseudonyms are often better because a pseudonym, even if they are personally unknown, helps set context. Comments on issues which are complex often can't realistically be partitioned to be exhaustive in themselves. For some people here, at least, I'm familiar with their basic worldview from their other posts, and their comment or argument can placed in that wider context for deeper consideration, at least implicitly.

        I'm way to memory challenged to keep track of my own world view, let alone that of the people who's posts I read or reply to.

        I suggest it's sort of intellectually dishonest if you evaluate a posting in a certain way based on who posted it rather than what was posted.
        Ideas should be evaluated based on their content rather than their source.

        After all, isn't checking who posted something sort of running afoul of the Fallacy of Ad hominem [nizkor.org]?

        That said, I tend to discount AC postings unless the subject matter is one where they might have a legitimate need to hide, so, in a sense I'm guilty of the same thing.

        • by firewrought (36952) on Friday September 21, 2012 @09:43PM (#41417891)

          I suggest it's sort of intellectually dishonest if you evaluate a posting in a certain way based on who posted it rather than what was posted. Ideas should be evaluated based on their content rather than their source.

          Learning to evaluate ideas directly, without being influenced by one's preconceptions about their source, is a skill that we should all learn and value.

          However, it is also valuable to evaluate sources and their presentation of ideas over time, because some sources are more accurate/insightful/relevant to particular knowledge domains than others. And that's important because we evaluate (or should be evaluating) many, many ideas continuously. Authority is not the ultimate source of truth, but it can be a shortcut to it.

          A source also has a reputation to defend, and this encourages (some of them) to be more careful about what they say. I suggest that this why you discount AC postings... no reputation is at stake.

          Unfortunately, some people are shockingly poor at source evaluation. They'll forward anonymously written emails that are thinly disguised political agit-prop, then turn sour when you send them a link to snopes ("that's not a reliable source").

          • by Cali Thalen (627449) on Saturday September 22, 2012 @03:07PM (#41422871) Homepage

            Evaluating the source is most useful when you don't have a good basis to determine the validity of the information yourself. This isn't as crucial as it was pre-internet, since it's not hard for most (?) people to do a little googling to find out more, but there are time where I don't care enough or don't have the bandwidth to find the background. In those cases, if I know the background of the source, I can sometimes easily decide if it's worth remembering or discounting out of hand.

            I totally agree with AC posting, but as has been stated, most inflammatory AC comments will usually just get dismissed on the spot, which is perfectly OK since most are deserving of being ignored. The ones that are worthy of being read will stand on their own, and it's not hard for most (sane) people to know the difference.

            More importantly, if people tend to look at completely baseless AC posts (or other drivel) and jump on them like they were fact...well, now I can generally dismiss THOSE people as well. Helps me figure out which people have no sense of logic and can't be trusted to come to rational decisions or opinions.

        • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Friday September 21, 2012 @11:09PM (#41418461)

          I suggest it's sort of intellectually dishonest if you evaluate a posting in a certain way based on who posted it rather than what was posted.
          Ideas should be evaluated based on their content rather than their source.

          Depends. If someone on fox news claim that that they aren't in bed with the Romney campaign, or that Obama is in fact a kenyan muslim I know they're likely to be full of their usual shit. There's far more information in the world than I can reasonable parse through, so you have to pick your sources you trust and sources you don't, or you'll spend your life doing research and never actually getting things done. That doesn't mean I completely discount everything fox news said, but I'll leave it to someone else to actual check their facts - after all, it was the national enquirer that broke the Monika Lewinsky scandal correctly in detail (despite the vast majority of their material at the time being completely made up nonsense).

          Also, posting everything purely anonymously makes it hard to verify you're continuing a conversation with the right person, which does happen in the comments here occasionally.

        • by Zemran (3101) on Saturday September 22, 2012 @02:11AM (#41419107) Homepage Journal

          I do not bother with ACs either but icebike hardly gives away your identity as Facebook is asking for. I would not give my real name on Facebook and I think that anyone that does is an idiot. I would not want some fanatic to be able to track me down after I comment about some crazy's over reaction to that anti-Mohammed film. I do not tend to write flame bait but I often speak my mind and there are people out there that will kill you for speaking your mind if it is not the same as their warped perception of the world. Do you really think that they cannot find you if you put all your real data on Facebook as Facebook wants?

          This is not about AC vs. pseudonym, they want you to put genuine data on your account that will allow people to find the real you in person.

    • by icebike (68054) * on Friday September 21, 2012 @09:11PM (#41417695)

      The story was written by Qedward and posted by Soulkill.

      How much more Anonymous do you need to be?

      • by houghi (78078) on Saturday September 22, 2012 @02:59AM (#41419257)

        Posting as John Smith, Adrian Cronauer, Samual T. Jameson or any non-fake looking name.
        Interesting part is that my alias is more distinct then if I were be using my own name.
        And look right here [imageshack.us] what happens when you use your own name and that name is Justin Bieber.

      • Simple: (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BrokenHalo (565198) on Saturday September 22, 2012 @08:36AM (#41420145)
        This line, buried in TFA (!) says enough:

        That, ultimately, is what lies behind this kind of thing: Facebook wants to make money. If it knows exactly who you are, it thinks it can make more money from you.

        This should be obvious enough, but sometimes the obvious needs pointing out:

        Facebook can't make any money out of you if you don't use it.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:58PM (#41418419)

      I'm afraid if I'm ever asked about internet identities during a job interview and I answer Anonymous Coward I'll have a lot to answer for.

  • by Presto Vivace (882157) <marshall@prestovivace.biz> on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:14PM (#41416669) Homepage Journal
    nobody ever won a war with their customers
    • by Frac O Mac (1138427) on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:19PM (#41416709)
      Everyone seems to forget that we aren't the customers, we're the product. This is all about increasing the quality of their data for their real customers.
      • by joelwhitehouse (2571813) on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:25PM (#41416777)

        Everyone seems to forget that we aren't the customers, we're the product. This is all about increasing the quality of their data for their real customers.

        Exactly. Facebook has admitted that 80 million accounts are fake [cnn.com]; now it needs to take steps to reassure customers that the eyeballs they've been selling are real.

        • by dgatwood (11270) on Friday September 21, 2012 @08:02PM (#41417057) Homepage Journal

          If, as they have said, their "entire platform is based on people using their real identities", then their entire platform is fundamentally flawed. No one should be forced to use their real identity for any purposes online, and the harder companies like Facebook try to force people to do so (and the more sites that use Facebook for authentication), the more backlash there will be against Facebook, and the more traction alternative services will get.

          • by dgatwood (11270) on Friday September 21, 2012 @08:06PM (#41417119) Homepage Journal

            Incidentally, none of Facebook's accounts are fake. They all represent an online identity. Whether those identities maps 1:1 to physical users or not is irrelevant. There are still actual humans using the accounts, viewing ads, contributing to the usefulness of the platform, etc. There is no legitimate reason for Facebook to be concerned about these accounts that do not center around fundamental invasions of personal privacy, such as correlating user behavior outside of Facebook with what they do and say inside of Facebook.

            • by shentino (1139071) <shentino@gmail.com> on Friday September 21, 2012 @08:10PM (#41417171)

              Unfortunately Facebook is a private company and they own the servers, so they get to dictate what data is and is not allowed.

              They don't NEED a reason, legitimate or otherwise, to concern themselves with whatever they see fit.

              Our facetime, however, is ours, and we may in turn see fit not to patronize them if we don't like what they're doing.

              Since they sprung the trap after luring us in, and refuse to delete our data even if we tell them to, we're really not in much of a position to negotiate since they already have us by the balls.

            • by Viceice (462967) on Friday September 21, 2012 @11:08PM (#41418459)

              I do believe they have a legitimate reason to enforce a 'real names' policy.

              Imagine if you picked up the local phone directory, and instead of what it has now, it listed names such as FantasyFairy337, OMGCATS88 and cutiecupcakes264. They are still real accounts, and calling the number will connect you with a living breathing person but what would your opinion of the utility of the phone directory be?

              One of the strongest motivating factors for people to get on facebook is to connect with/stalk others. For example, to find out if that person you just met and want to date is single or god forbid married with children. Having fake names diminishes this utility.

              • by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday September 22, 2012 @02:14AM (#41419113) Homepage Journal

                Imagine if you picked up the local phone directory, and instead of what it has now, it listed names such as FantasyFairy337, OMGCATS88 and cutiecupcakes264. They are still real accounts, and calling the number will connect you with a living breathing person but what would your opinion of the utility of the phone directory be?

                About the same as it is now. My employer's phone directory has my number, so if anybody from work needs to reach me, they can. If anybody else needs my number, they can bloody well ask me for it. Likewise, if I need to know somebody's number, I'll ask for it. Otherwise, my number is unlisted, and a lot of folks I know have unlisted numbers as well. Heck, half the folks I know don't even have a home phone, which makes phone books pretty close to completely useless.

                I haven't looked up anybody's number in a phone book since I was... oh, single-digit years of age... back in the days when a cellular phone had a car battery attached and, generally speaking, a car attached as well. The notion of being able to trust everyone in town with your phone number is an anachronism from times gone by decades ago, in much the same way that being able to trust any random person to see your real name when they see you posting with your Facebook user on some random message board is an anachronism left over from the early days of the Internet, back before all the stalkers, crazies, and AOLers got on. :-D

                BTW, get off my lawn. :-D

                But in all seriousness, it's not that I don't trust Facebook to have my real name. It's that I don't trust the world to have my real name, and a lot of sites try to force you to use Facebook to authenticate yourself. The more sites I encounter that use Facebook for their authentication scheme, the less inclined I am to use my real name on Facebook. The more people make that call, the less practical it becomes to find people on Facebook, but then again, if you really want to know my Facebook handle, you could always ask me. In other words, no different than my phone number.

                What Facebook really needs to do is to acknowledge that there's a privacy concern, and to allow people to set a fake screen name that will be seen by anyone who isn't on their friends list, or friends of friends, or whatever their privacy setting says. Oh, and to make it possible to provide that bogus information to app developers instead of your real info as well, for precisely the same reason.

                I don't even mind people being able to look me up by my real name if they know it. I just want to be able to have a clear delineation between my online persona and my Facebook life or, to put it another way, plausible deniability. :-)

                • by Viceice (462967) on Saturday September 22, 2012 @04:58AM (#41419635)

                  You raise an interesting point about having a 'fake' name to show the world, and what is your real name.

                  I'm Chinese, so on my bank accounts and official documents, I have the romanised version of my name in mandarin.

                  In day to day life however, everyone calls me Nicholas. My co workers, clients, friends, etc. and that is also the name I use on facebook. About the only people who know my name in mandarin are my immediate family, and entities I need to enter into contracts with.

                  To be sure, Nicholas is by no means fake or a pseudonym. My parents named me as such, and I have answered to that name all my life. Google me and you will turn up a lot of stuff i have put online over the years, pictures of parties, videos, random nonsense on forums etc. But searching official records for that name is going to turn up a lot of people who arn't me.

                  So back to the topic at hand, maybe what facebook is concerned with are name that are pure fiction/fantasy, after all, my name would pass the 'fake' test in the article as i have built an identity around it, but it's not my official name.

          • by erp_consultant (2614861) on Saturday September 22, 2012 @12:33AM (#41418819)

            I think that Facebook is caught between a rock and a hard place here. If the fake accounts continue to exist (and if Facebook is admitting to 80 mil you can be sure the real number is much higher than that) then advertisers will continue to abandon the platform. But if Facebook continues to come out with policies like this then USERS will abandon the platform.

            This is why I don't use Facebook. You start out posting a few innocent quotes and photos. Then maybe you add a questionable comment or two. Maybe a drunk college photo. Next thing you know it goes mainstream and HR drones start trolling profiles of prospective hires. Now you're got some explaining to do to someone you don't even know that probably has no business trolling your profile in the first place. But you've sold your soul to Facebook and now you can't get the toothpaste back in the tube. Those photos and comments live in infamy. All in the name of advertising dollars. Who reads those stupid ads anyway?

            • by DaveGod (703167) on Saturday September 22, 2012 @06:20AM (#41419801)

              This is why I don't use Facebook. You start out posting a few innocent quotes and photos. Then maybe you add a questionable comment or two. Maybe a drunk college photo. Next thing you know [...]

              FB privacy has moved on a bit. You can add "friends" then categorise your real friends as "close friends", then default all postings as being visible only to close friends. It does take a bit of care but you can leave your FB page sterile and devoid of anything remotely interesting. You can even add people as "restricted" so even if you mess up at some point they still never see anything.

              Much to my surprise, this is actually my biggest problem with FB.

              See historically it was quite comfortable to be acquainted with someone, but not include them in things and not be included in their things. It just doesn't come up that either of you would include the other. You weren't hanging out on Saturday so of course you weren't included in the conversation or invited to the cinema or whatever. Friendship was an organic thing, you could lie anywhere between best friend and vague acquaintance and that relationship could vary depending on the circumstances - if you did happen to meet that day maybe you would be in the conversation and invited to join them to the cinema or whatever. It's pretty easy just to go around thinking maybe you two would be good friends if only the situation arose.

              FB however feels more like positive exclusion. Like you're in the room but people are whispering and moving away to keep out of earshot. At lunchtime you can see your colleague, who "friended" you on FB and is generally very friendly, tapping away into their phone app yet you never see anything. It's much more in your face that you're not in their trusted circles and not really considered their friend. They have categorised you and that's that; there's nothing organic about it.

              The worst bit is the feedback loop. Due to FB it's clear you're not in their trusted circles so you're more careful with them "in real life" - you either trust them or you don't - and life begins to reflect FB.

              This is really quite a sad state of affairs for someone who is quite shy, a bit socially awkward but naturally likes people and tends towards being quite open.

          • by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday September 22, 2012 @02:35AM (#41419183) Journal

            No one should be forced to use their real identity for any purposes online

            except when participating in commerce and using credit cards and the such.

            That and other obvious exceptions (like filing taxes) aside, Facebook is simply a joke.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @08:04PM (#41417083)
          I have two accounts using the same name, birthday and background. I have 3 other accounts that are completely fake. I've had them for a couple of years and it doesn't seem Facebook is doing much. The 3 fake ones are just game puppets and no one knows who they really are anyway. I guess if it comes up they can all vouch for each other.
        • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Friday September 21, 2012 @11:50PM (#41418631) Journal
          Hey - I bet a lot of "real names" are not all the useful either... I have a facebook account. I have zero friends. Not my wife, my kids. Nobody (see definition of zero.)

          I just staked out the claim on may name, and pretty much just said "Yes, this me. I don't use facebook."

          Lately I have been barraged with incessant emails from Facebook "welcoming me back" or reminding me how many "friend requests I have" (more than zero). All of which I ignore. (Although I do log in every few months, just to keep my account alive.) Seems like desperation to me. Or maybe just IPO money being thrown at "marketing", whatever.

          Any other non-user users out there?
      • by Presto Vivace (882157) <marshall@prestovivace.biz> on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:33PM (#41416845) Homepage Journal
        Just as you say. Yet I am not sure that making war on your supply chain is much of an improvement.
      • by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:35PM (#41416865)

        Everyone seems to forget that we aren't the customers, we're the product.

        While its true that Facebook's customers are those purchasing ads, the rest is not quite right.

        Facebook users are suppliers, not products. Their attention is the raw material for the product, which demographically targetted advertising.

        The utility (in the economic system) provided by Facebook's system to the users is the payment from the product vendor to its suppliers.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @08:43PM (#41417467)

        Everyone seems to forget that we aren't the customers, we're the product. This is all about increasing the quality of their data for their real customers.

        Er, "Everyone"?

        From the average 12-year old to the 85-year old Great-Grandmother, I have yet to run across someone using Facebook as a "customer" or a "product". They use it because it's free. They use it because it's cool. 90% of people on there don't even know their data is being sold, and therefore are absofuckinglutely clueless as to quality of data, or real customers.

        People who sell shit for a living don't have a clue.

        There is forgetting, and there is blind ignorance. Don't confuse the two.

      • by Tough Love (215404) on Friday September 21, 2012 @08:53PM (#41417559)

        Everyone seems to forget that we aren't the customers, we're the product.

        Nobody ever won a war with their product.

      • by Stiletto (12066) on Friday September 21, 2012 @09:46PM (#41417905)

        In every transaction, there's a seller, a buyer, and a product.

        If you're not getting any money and you're not losing any money, guess what you are...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @08:08PM (#41417139)

      The beauty of facebook is that it has absolutely no value. I use it because it is there. If they boot me off, then it's no great loss.

    • by shentino (1139071) <shentino@gmail.com> on Friday September 21, 2012 @08:08PM (#41417149)

      Well the citizens of Monticello already told that to TDS, and they were wrong.

      You can easily win a war with your customers if you're a monopoly.

  • by fm6 (162816) on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:15PM (#41416675) Homepage Journal

    Yes, anonymity is valuable! Especially for spammers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:16PM (#41416679)

    Get stitches.

  • by alen (225700) on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:16PM (#41416681)

    In my case some of these people are expert army sharpshooters and/or former paratroopers

    So no, I'm not snitching

  • by metalmaster (1005171) on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:18PM (#41416701)
    John imsoclevercauseichangedmymiddlename Smith is targeted under this new scrutiny. There are probably 20-30 people on my facebook who do that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:19PM (#41416713)
    My last name isn't Coward; it's actually Smith.

    Anonymous is my real given name though. Life has not been kind to me ever since 4chan took off.
  • Please help us (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mtrachtenberg (67780) on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:21PM (#41416737) Homepage

    Please help us understand how people are using Facebook:

    Is this your friend's real name?

    Do you really like this friend?

    Has this friend ever sent you any revealing pictures?

    How much do you think this friend spends on entertainment? clothes? shoes? online services?

    Please estimate the odds that this so-called friend might be a terrorist?

    If you had to describe this friend to Facebook and the DHS, which of the following descriptions would you use: creative? avant-garde? obedient? disruptive?

    Facebook appreciates your answers and respects your privacy. Thank you.

  • by Bongoots (795869) * on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:28PM (#41416803)

    Fake date of birth, fake profile picture, fake location details, ...

    This could be a good little snitching exercise, but then Fakebook would lose so many under-13s* that their userbase would practically halve. And that's just tackling DOBs, let alone the other details.

    (*I'm not condoning under-13s being on the website, only stating the fact that there are a lot of children who signed up with fake DOBs.)

  • by elucido (870205) on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:32PM (#41416833)

    Just look at how it's designed. It's designed to encourage snitch culture.
    Let me make it clear, telling the truth isn't the same as snitching. Witnessing isn't the same as snitching. And helping the police isn't the same as snitching. Snitching is telling on your own side.

    The problem with Facebook itself is it doesn't care about ethics or the risks associated with making everyone stalkable. Facebook is a stalker friendly application while at the same time snitch friendly. That combination isn't a good mix. For example if you have a friend who has a stalker maybe you shouldn't reveal their last name on Facebook even if you know it, and maybe you shouldn't tell Facebook whether or not they are using a pseudonym.

    On the other hand maybe they shouldn't be on Facebook.

  • by tetrahedrassface (675645) on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:43PM (#41416919) Journal

    Facebook users don't care, and get angry when you try to eduucate them. They think I'm crazy,, but mostly I post inane rubbish just to keep the data miners off kilter.. Spam away!

  • by macbeth66 (204889) on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:53PM (#41416983)

    And of those, how many bear no resemblance to you?

    I have six accounts in all. Only two are even remotely real. One has all the usual crap, the second is scrubbed for use with potential employers. The other four were used for varying purposes where I did not want to contaminate the real thing. I am about to create a seventh, just to see how outrageous I can be.

    God, I hate Facebook.

  • by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {esidarap.cram}> on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:54PM (#41416989) Homepage Journal

    "Freedom to go under a pseudonym is, miraculously, one freedom to survive the security lock-down of the previous decade.

    Just stop.

    When you're talking about the the restrictions that a company places on its non-essential services, you don't get to talk about how complying with their terms of service has an effect on your "freedom" - you're free to use a pseudonym in all kinds of places. Quit complaining and stop using it.

  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:58PM (#41417013)

    I got a similar request asking if one of my female Facebook friends was really female. It's a strange question too, because she's not the kind of person you'd expect this question for. She's always posting pictures of cupcakes from Pinterest and pictures of her nephew and things like that. I wish I'd taken a screenshot of it, it was a lot like this question. I responded in the affirmative because I didn't see what kind of harm it could do. I've never heard of someone getting kicked out of Facebook for listing inaccurate personal information or anything like that.

    I can understand why they'd want to get rid of "fake" users. I don't think their interest is in eliminating pseudonymity, but rather in eliminating spammers. I think they're thinking if they show you something like this for something they suspect is a fake account, it will you cause you to question whether or not you really know the person and to report them as a spammer if you don't know them. I'm thinking of those friend requests I get with pictures of attractive looking women I've never met. If you accidentally accepted one you may be unwittingly letting spammers abuse Facebook's system, so I can defiantly see why they'd want to get rid of those accounts.

  • by Penurious Penguin (2687307) on Friday September 21, 2012 @07:59PM (#41417019) Homepage Journal
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqggW08BWO0 [youtube.com]
    I think the epiphany comes when one watches it and doesn't laugh.
    • by macbeth66 (204889) on Friday September 21, 2012 @08:20PM (#41417267)

      Oh! Eff me!

      Thank you so much for that. Sorry, I tried not to laugh, but I couldn't stop.

      "400 billion tweets and not one useful bit of data was ever transmitted."

      Spot on.

      And Zuckerberg was the CIA Director of the Facebook project. Enough to make you crap state secrets.

      Although maybe...

      Anybody else remember the SNL commercial spoof of the Trac II. They showed a razor with three blades. I can't stop snickering when I pass the five blade shaving systems in the store. I was truly frightened when I saw that one of them took batteries.

  • by barakn (641218) on Friday September 21, 2012 @08:01PM (#41417039)

    Facebook is not "clamping down on pseudonyms" and /. should be ashamed for posting a story that suggests it is. The questions Facebook sends to users are used for statistical purposes and are not used to punish those using pseudonyms. Pure FUD.

  • by tetrahedrassface (675645) on Friday September 21, 2012 @08:03PM (#41417069) Journal

    I don't give a fuck who pinned what to pinterest or what game someone played. In fact Facebook is useless except for spreading rumors and self promotion. The nosey types love it. It still smells bad though. Real bad.

  • by mschaffer (97223) on Friday September 21, 2012 @08:32PM (#41417379)

    Nein! You must show us your papers...
    Nobody said Facebook was a democracy.

  • by Holammer (1217422) on Friday September 21, 2012 @09:20PM (#41417755)

    ... When you can go straight to Godwin's Law comparisons.
    Also, the impish side of my wants to try to game the system by asking my friends to vouch for 'Große Gobblecoq' being *totally* legit.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:05PM (#41418061) Journal

    TFA shows a screenshot of the question screen. You're given several possible answers to "is this your friend's real name". I can see data mining possibilities with the answers, especially correlated with other people's friends list, and answers.

    I think we should all agree now to provide the same answer. When I started writing this article, I thought the answer should be "yes". As I'm writing it, I've changed my mind. I think we should always answer "I don't know this person". I think this provides the least amount of information, and also gives you plausible deniability.

    Followup question: "Why is this person in your friends list?" Answer: "I don't know." Shrug.

    The problem I have with this whole thing... there's probably been many others with examples... I know four Facebook account holders who are using pseudonyms. One is avoiding a stalker. One is avoiding a cult. One is avoiding an abusive ex-husband. One is a cat.

    Ok, that last one wasn't a great example, but I think we can stand having a few pets on Facebook in order to allow people a venue who wouldn't otherwise have a voice.

    Parenthetically, I suspect that the first time Facebook outs someone who is subsequently attacked, injured, perhaps killed by the person or persons from whom they were hiding, it is going to, let us say, reflect badly on Facebook.

  • Another good reason to stay away from Facebook.
    I have an account that I idiotically once made to join a group to get notifications.
    That group is gone but then an idiot from my school 30 years ago put connected me to people from then.
    I almost never log in, and I tell people I don't like Facebook when they ask me if I'm on it.
    For some reason even intelligent people seem mindless on FB.
    I recently saw a publicly available discussion thread on the well, an interview with charles stross and cory doctorow iirc and others.
    It was a really refreshing and considered dialogue over a week, it was great and after reading that it makes me almost physically ill to think of FB and the way it analyzes you and your friends and then hooks this spying apparatus into a targeted advertising engine. A typical asshole idea by another psychopath billionaire.
    I have sometimes found it useful to get more insight into the activities of a person or company but I do not contribute to FB.

  • by retroworks (652802) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:13PM (#41418127) Homepage Journal
    After a similar discussion on Slashdot, a year or two ago, I was inspired to post a group photo from the 1800s and invite all my friends to "false tag" themeselves. It is part of my "digital camouflage" campaign. Nature doesn't really evolve invisibility very often, camouflage and false data is much more common. After reading this post I went to see if my "false tag group" was still on facebook.. and found it has disappeared. But I won't give up. "camouflage" is the answer, not anonymity. We need more bad data on Facebook. False tag a friend today. http://retroworks.blogspot.com/2010/09/simpler-ideas-cookie-camouflage-digital.html [blogspot.com]
  • by kilodelta (843627) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:18PM (#41418163) Homepage
    People lie. And their friends will cover for them. I know for example that one of my friends does not use their real name on Facebook. So what, not only that but that friend also has several IDs on Facebook - I now what each are. But I'll be damned if I'm going to do Facebook the favor and tell them about it.
  • by Zamphatta (1760346) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:25PM (#41418219) Homepage
    And people act like I'm crazy when I say I don't ever want to try Facebook again.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:44PM (#41418359) Homepage

    This friend of mine, Mark Zuckerberg.. That' snot his real name.... Can you ban him please?

  • by rdean400 (322321) on Friday September 21, 2012 @11:59PM (#41418675)

    My dad and my nephew are both named James Dean. Facebook won't let them use their real name, which contradicts their goal of having real names.

  • by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Saturday September 22, 2012 @12:22AM (#41418781) Journal
    Not to me! Do it to Julia Realname! Do it to Julia Realname! I don't care what you do! Poke her fake face off! Strip her farmville animals to the bone! Not Halcyon! DO IT TO JULIA REALNAME!
  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Saturday September 22, 2012 @12:48AM (#41418861)
    Nah ah! My friend, Phyuk Zyukerberg is totally legit. Everyone knows him; he won 2 emmies! Look it up...on wikipedia, lol.
  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Saturday September 22, 2012 @02:25AM (#41419147)

    From TFA: The choices offered are "Yes", "No", "I don't know this person" and "I don't want to answer". I don't understand how they forgot to include an option saying "Go fuck yourself, Zuckerberg, you fascist prick".

    In fairness, the easiest thing to do is just lie. My Facebook profile is so full of lies it almost makes Romney look honest. My friends all know the truth, and everybody else who cares that much about whether I'm 25, 35 or 45 can join Zuckerberg in the line to Honk On Bobo.

  • by Bert64 (520050) <{moc.eeznerif.todhsals} {ta} {treb}> on Saturday September 22, 2012 @02:43AM (#41419209) Homepage

    In some countries it is legal to use any alias you wish, provided you are not doing so with the intention of committing fraud or impersonation (in which case the actual crime is the fraud/impersonation not the fact you used an alias). A name is after all, a totally arbitrary label and the government is only really concerned in tying an individual to a birth record.

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