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

Posted by Soulskill
from the anonymous-cowards-welcome-here dept.
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 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 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 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 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 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 TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Friday September 21, 2012 @08:14PM (#41417199) Journal

    That would actually be an epic thing to see. It would make for a beautiful legal decision "you can't change your name to one that causes social confusion". The Artist Formerly Known As Prince could submit an amicus brief on it too.

  • 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 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.

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