Arguments Against Pseudonyms

Decent Essays
The ever increasing amount of people utilizing the internet as a means of communication has led to many interesting phenomena. One that can be easily observed on many online forums is the use of pseudonyms instead of actual names. The ability to utilize pseudonyms when creating online profiles allows people to protect their identities, enabling them to freely voice their opinions without fear of retaliation. When browsing through online comment sections and social media, it is common to come across people writing under pseudonyms. The reasons for using an alias can be many; while there are people that utilize online anonymity as a way of shielding their personal life from internet backlash, others choose to abuse anonymity in order to spew…show more content…
In the article “Online Anonymity Protects Marginalized Groups,” the author argues that online anonymity is used by marginalized groups to preserve their privacy. The venues the author refers to are the social networks Facebook and Google Plus, which have “real name” policies that forbid the use of pseudonyms (Boyd, par. 7). The author attempts to answer if said policies protect users or if they increase user vulnerability. She states that the stakeholders in this issue are those most affected by prohibiting pseudonyms and nicknames, the vulnerable and marginalized members of society such as “abuse survivors, activists, LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] people, women, and young people” (Boyd, par. 3). The values attached to the issue are those of safety, as people often utilize pseudonyms to preserve their physical and mental health, as well as that of their families (Boyd, par. 2). Boyd is against the enforcement of “real name” policies because it exposes those who need protection, arguing that “you don't guarantee safety by stopping people from using pseudonyms, but you do undermine people's safety by doing so” (Boyd, par. 11). The author concludes that “enforcing ‘real names’ policies in online spaces is an abuse of power” (Boyd, par. 12). The solution she presents is simply not enforcing real name
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