YouTube Wants You to Comment Using Your Real Name

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Most of the time reading comments on the Internet is like attending a slightly dysfunctional family dinner, full of passionately argued, half-baked political theories and tasteless jokes. Wandering into a YouTube comments section, however, can be like walking into a dive bar bathroom, walls and mirrors covered in graffiti as profane as it is pointless.

Last month at Google I/O, an audience member asked Dror Shimshowitz, a head of product at YouTube, what he could do about the terrible comments on his YouTube channel. According to Wired, Shimshowitz responded, “We’re working on some improvements to the comment system, so hopefully we’ll have an update on that in the next few months.”

Apparently he wasn’t lying. Try to comment on a video today and a window will pop up with the title “Start using your full name on YouTube,” which will sign you in with your Google+ account. A YouTube spokesperson told BetaBeat that this option has been offered since June 29 and that users with a Google+ account will see the same thing if they try to upload a video.

If you don’t want to use your Google+ account, you can refuse — but then you’re taken to a second prompt, which asks “Are you sure?” Then, like some kind of Internet degenerate, you must explain why you don’t want to use your full name.

Most of the reasons provided involve the user being a business or product, although you can choose the mysterious “My channel is for personal use, but I cannot use my real name,” useful if you are cruising YouTube as a member of the witness protection program.

It would have been more honest if YouTube had included, “I’m a jerk and would like to troll comment sections anonymously,” but sadly that’s not an option. Still, it’s important to remember that not everyone on the site is a bored troll looking to mock watchers of Justin Bieber videos.

Recently YouTube launched its own face-blurring tool, a valuable tool for protesters trying to protect themselves from government recrimination. That pretty much sums up why YouTube will (hopefully) never completely take away the option to comment anonymously.

Balancing the needs for free speech and civility is a tricky proposition that, quite frankly, no website has completely figured out. This is definitely a step in the right direction for YouTube; whether or not its users will actually start using their real names is another question.

[via BetaBeat]

21 comments
jleavitt84
jleavitt84

I think that most websites that allow commenting are trying to use your real names. That is why they ask you to sign up with your email. I don't necessarily have a problem with it because I don't comment very often on youtube.


http://www.thehometheatercompany.com/

theoverwatch24
theoverwatch24

Just lie, it worked for me, I refuse to use my real name.. not going to happen. Make up a real sounding name and go with it. If they force you, LIE to them.. been working for me for ages online.. eventually they will want to see ID to sign up, and when that day comes I am done with them.. NO ONE online forces me to use my real name.. not now not ever.

KaiSutsutonu
KaiSutsutonu

Because giving my full name, which helps them find my location, is AN AWESOME THING, on a site that has more trolls than 4chan.  Right?

panique
panique

This is extremely dangerous ! Well, it's a nice tool to avoid trolls and spam, but in my case I'm now afraid to post a comment, reply or opinion in a youtube thread on the "Mohammed pictures". Islamic people will send you hatemails (even if you simply write in english and not arabic, whatever your opinion is), they have your portrait picture (!!) and with 1 click they can find out your xing profile, your adress, and your company. 

Jack Lord
Jack Lord

Google Is interested in building dossiers on every one amp; every thing. An end run around wiretapping amp; search amp; seizure laws amp; has a relationship with Intel agencies. AI is used to build THREAT AsSESMENTS  based on who amp; what your interests are track you amp; used to 'MANAGE' YOU down the road. Anyone who thinks that 'don't worry' or stand behind everything you ever said on the NET is a FOOL . GOOGLE IS NOT worrying about your 'account being hijacked' . THEY WANT TO TRACK YOU! THATS IT AND THATS ALL! Don't be a slave or a muppet! Take care of YOURSELF! And be AWARE!

candor
candor

How about the simple choice/reason: "I like the name I chose for youtube"? A nickname offers an expansion on a person's identity, providing flair and an additional talking points to break the ice for communication. Shall we do away with Nicknames in life? There will always be people who abuse a system, cowards who hide behind masks because they do not have the conviction to believe in their own opinions and emotionally immature people who want to provoke or upset others. Emotional intelligence allows us to ignore them, especially in text online. To demand that all people line up and show their identity badges for all social occasions, however, is a repression of creativity and a paranoid requirement. - Ric Candor (candortube)

Vern1816
Vern1816

My name is Vernon Brown and I think You Tube is great but I do stay away from nudity and violence

James Alton
James Alton

If you don't use your real name on Youtube when it asks you to, Reply breaks. Arghhhh. They need to fix this yesterday if they want to keep users.

Calvin Mlynarczyk
Calvin Mlynarczyk

A lot of websites have been implementing Facebook Social as their commenting platform, and people are still just as rude and unreasonable as they have always been, even if others can see their real names.

RobertSF
RobertSF

I disagree with this trend toward connecting your real life identity to your online one. In real life, most of the dumb things you do are under "no harm, no foul" rules. If you get drunk and puke in a taxi cab, well, your date's embarrassed, but that's it. On the other hand, everything you do online is recorded. I can look up comments I wrote 15 years ago.

Guest
Guest

this civility argument is such a fraud. if u don't like it don't read it or post

chromaniac
chromaniac

Well, it is still easier to manage because you can ban offending members and they would need to create an entirely new Facebook profile to comment again. Something that takes a whole lot more energy compared to commenting as Guest. 

l0bl0
l0bl0

I agree. I've searched multiple times and I'm the only person in the USA with my firstname/lastname combo, perhaps even the world. If my name were Ashley Smith I might feel more comfortable revealing my name to the internet, but as it is I don't need someone taking someone I say online and bringing it to my real life. And I've seen that happen multiple times to others.

Besides, I just like keeping the different aspects of my life separate. If a site requires me to log in with Facebook, unless I really really need something from that site I refuse. I need boundaries.

Geraldo Dias
Geraldo Dias

In my view, if you're a clean and honest citizen, there's no reason to hide yourself behind pseudonym. Show yourself  to the world.

theoverwatch24
theoverwatch24

@Geraldo Dias Sorry, I dont trust ANYONE online with my real info.. and just like this acct and the other 20 I have, I will NEVER use my real name.. too may nuts online. BTW how much does google pay you to post garbage like this?

RobertSF
RobertSF

Geraldo, if you're a clean and honest citizen, nobody has the right to look into your private life, not even the government.

Shiyu Zhao
Shiyu Zhao

That's the argument used by all the dictators who try to force real names online - they claim that you don't need to worry about privacy issues if you are "honest" whereas they just use the information to arrest people. You argument is dangerous in that no one gets to judge who is clean or honest, and once we don't have the basic option of anonymity even online, dire consequences could occur. (Think about how a nasty local police official can just arrest you because you posted something against them on YouTube.)

chromaniac
chromaniac

That is what the government likes you to believe. Web users should have the right to retain their anonymity on the web. Though YouTube has the right to decide who can join and comment on their own network as they are not providing it as a social service. 

chromaniac
chromaniac

yeap. google has been playing very safe after the buzz fiasco. google plus still remains an opt-in service. tech sites however continue to attack google for no apparent reason. this article is a good example. 

melosfox
melosfox

They are being gracious by offering both options.  Many sites would not offer anonymity.