Years Later, Google Finally Dumps Its Ill-Advised Real Names Policy: Drops All Restrictions On Names
from the good-move dept
While it's easy for some people to insist that there's no big deal here, the stories of people negatively impacted by such a policy were very moving. Stories about people who had been abused or stalked, fearing being re-discovered by their tormenters. Stories of transgender people who had not "come out" to co-workers, but were "forced" to. Stories of people trying to hide from death threats. These were not minor issues. Google adjusted its policy somewhat, but not entirely.
However, today the company announced that it was completely abandoning restrictions on naming within Google+. Not only that, in its announcement, the company admits that the old policy caused harm to people:
When we launched Google+ over three years ago, we had a lot of restrictions on what name you could use on your profile. This helped create a community made up of real people, but it also excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using their real names.I still think that the company should have done this from the very beginning, but kudos to it for eventually coming around and recognizing that "real names" is a bad policy that can have serious unintended consequences -- and that letting people use pseudonyms is not a bad thing.
Over the years, as Google+ grew and its community became established, we steadily opened up this policy, from allowing +Page owners to use any name of their choosing to letting YouTube users bring their usernames into Google+. Today, we are taking the last step: there are no more restrictions on what name you can use.
We know you've been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today's change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be. Thank you for expressing your opinions so passionately, and thanks for continuing to make Google+ the thoughtful community that it is.