A debate is erupting over Google’s deleting of pseudonym accounts on Google+. Why would Google care if people use their real names? It’s just for civility, right? Not quite:
As a number of users have pointed out, Google and Facebook aren’t just focused on requiring real names because they want to improve behavior on their networks — there is also a very real interest on their part in being able to build a profile of a user for advertising and marketing purposes as well. And more than one user of Google+ has raised concerns that Google’s crackdown on pseudonyms or fake names has apparently resulted in users being blocked from using any of Google’s various services, including email, because their profile is tied to all of the company’s other products.
It is true that the worst trolls are usually hiding behind anonymity, and trolls can sink a site and harm a brand. Obviously, however, trolling is not really an issue on a site such as Google+ that requires users to make connections with each other.
People can be harmed by a real names policy. Many companies would rather not be harmed by an anonymity policy.