Should people be allowed to use pseudonyms online?
It is a topic of much debate, with Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus each giving different answers. On Monday, Google will change the policy on its social network to permit nicknames and pseudonyms.
But not any pseudonym will pass muster. Google will allow nicknames, maiden names and pseudonyms if the person can prove to Google that he or she is known by that name elsewhere, in published material or on other social networks.
According to a post from Bradley Horowitz and Google, nicknames and other names will be allowed.
“Over the next week, we’ll be adding support for alternate names – be they nicknames, maiden names, or names in another script – alongside your common name. This name will show up on your Google+ profile and in the hovercards which appear over your name. In the next few weeks, we’ll be displaying it more broadly as part of your name in other areas of Google+ as well. So if you’re Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jane Doe (Smith), or Saurabh Sharma (सौरभ शर्मा), you can now communicate your identity the way you want to.”
The setting will appear under Edit Profile, where you can select your name by clicking on “More options.” It is worth noting that this will change your name across all of your Google Profiles.
For names that Google has deemed unacceptable, you can challenge it for personal use by providing the following information to the review team:
– References to an established identity offline in print media, news articles, etc
– Scanned official documentation, such as a driver’s license
– Proof of an established identity online with a meaningful following
Google says they have similar features rolling out soon.