Recent headlines detailed the frustrating grapple between writer, Salman Rushdie and Facebook over the write to use a pseudonym on his account rather than his legal name. Salman’s legal name on his passport is Ahmed Rushdie, but he is known by his pen name Salman.
Facebook supports authentic identities. The company prefers that consumers use their actual names on their account. The social media platforms are divided regarding the use of real names and pseudonyms, hence the ‘Nym Wars.
Facebook is the champion of authentic names. The company has plans to enhance the social aspect of site while transitioning to a more app based Internet. In the future, regardless of what name you use, anonymity or public identity will be indicative of what is shared through social media. Be prepared to even more changes to the Facebook platform in the future. The company has unveiled the new user experience, where your wall and profile becomes a snapshot of your entire social existence.
So why should you be concerned regarding the outcome of the ‘Nym Wars? Web identity rights could drastically affect how you use the Internet and communicate through social media. The difficulty with applying rules to the Internet is that it is a global web network and each country will become responsible for their inhabitants. Identity management is still up in the air. Many sites like Google + and Facebook subscribe to the authentic identity school of thought. Others are more open to their users using aliases, specifically Twitter.
Based upon my personal user experience, I think it is important for users to be in control of their web identities. People have different reasons for using pseudonyms and they should be free to either protect their real identities or expose as much of it as they’re comfortable with. Considering that identity management is in the hands of third party providers, it’s necessary as consumers to define our needs in order to ensure our rights aren’t limited.
Many web users take advantage of Open ID, Facebook, or Google Accounts as web passports to allow them to sign into various sites. Considering this and all of the ethical implications regarding web identity freedom, which side are you on in the ‘Nym War? What solutions do you feel would be most advantageous to consumers? Please comment below to share your thoughts.