1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  |  12  |  13  |  14  |  15  |  16  |  17  |  18  |  19  |  20  |  21  |  22  |  23  |  24  |  25  |  26  |  27  |  28  |  29  |  30  |  31  |  32  |  33  |  34  |  35  |  36  |  37  |  38  |  39  |  40  |  41  |  42  |  43  |  44  |  45  |  46  |  47  |  48  |  49  |  50  |  51  |  52  |  53  |  54  |  55  |  56  |  57  |  58  |  59  |  60  |  61  |  62  |  63  |  64  |  65  |  66  |  67  |  68  |  69  |  70  |  71  |  72  |  73  |  74  |  75  |  76  |  77  |  78  |  79  |  80  |  81  |  82  |  83  |  84  |  85  |  86  |  87  |  88 

August 07, 2011

There is absolutely no reason to trust Google to do the right thing

Despite their "don't be evil" pledge and the claims of their PR department, Google does not have a great track record for responding to legitimate complaints from its users. Below Doctor Popular lays out the problems he has had since Google decided they don't like his name. Google’s Antisocial Behavior – DocPop.org
Dear Google, It’s our two week ban-niversary and I bet you are wondering what to get me. Cake would be nice. Or some socks. Perhaps you could drop a short email to let me know you miss me. It’s been 14 days since you suspended my access to Google Reader, Data Liberation, Google Profile, and various other services because the name I signed up to Google with didn’t sound right to you. How the time flies! You’ve always been slow to respond, it took 56 hours to respond to my appeal, but now you seem to have stopped replying all together. When I first filed my appeal you told me that my name violated Google ’s Terms Of Services, which simply stated that I needed to “use the name that I commonly go by in daily life”, so I responded with newspaper articles (Village Voice, Wall Street Journal, etc) and statements from past employers that verified my daily name (or common law name) has been “Doctor Popular” for more than 12 years. Despite all this evidence, your support staff told me the only way to regain access to my accounts was to send in a copy of my government issued ID. Vic Gundatro (Google’s Senior VP Social) isn’t using his “real” name and Natalie Villalobos (Google Community Manager) stated on this thread that “providing a government ID is an optional part of the Common Names process and our reviewer is incorrect when he says that he needs a government issued ID to confirm the name.” You guys could all get together and work this out over lunch sometime. . . . And so today, after two weeks of being locked out of Google Reader, I’ve decided to give you some publicity: If you sign up for Google+ you risk losing access to your other Google Services.

August 06, 2011

"'Real names' policies aren’t empowering; they’re an authoritarian assertion of power over vulnerable people."

A really excellent point. Ever since Google started banning people from ALL google products (email, reader, docs, etc) for using pseudonyms, this message has been getting louder. It's easy to attribute the idea that pseudonyms and constructed identities don't have any real worth to either marketing greed (real names are real money to marketers) or to a sort of blind nerd version of Male Privilege (you only need to be stalked online once to realize the value of hiding your true name). Google has backed off on the perma-bans, but they need to acknowledge that nommes de web have a necessary role in the internet. danah boyd | apophenia -- “Real Names” Policies Are an Abuse of Power
. . . Over and over again, people keep pointing to Facebook as an example where “real names” policies work. This makes me laugh hysterically. One of the things that became patently clear to me in my fieldwork is that countless teens who signed up to Facebook late into the game chose to use pseudonyms or nicknames. What’s even more noticeable in my data is that an extremely high percentage of people of color used pseudonyms as compared to the white teens that I interviewed. Of course, this would make sense… The people who most heavily rely on pseudonyms in online spaces are those who are most marginalized by systems of power. “Real names” policies aren’t empowering; they’re an authoritarian assertion of power over vulnerable people. These ideas and issues aren’t new (and I’ve even talked about this before), but what is new is that marginalized people are banding together and speaking out loudly. And thank goodness. What’s funny to me is that people also don’t seem to understand the history of Facebook’s “real names” culture. When early adopters (first the elite college students…) embraced Facebook, it was a trusted community. They gave the name that they used in the context of college or high school or the corporation that they were a part of. They used the name that fit into the network that they joined Facebook with. The names they used weren’t necessarily their legal names; plenty of people chose Bill instead of William. But they were, for all intents and purposes, “real.” As the site grew larger, people had to grapple with new crowds being present and discomfort emerged over the norms. But the norms were set and people kept signing up and giving the name that they were most commonly known by. By the time celebrities kicked in, Facebook wasn’t demanding that Lady Gaga call herself Stefani Germanotta, but of course, she had a “fan page” and was separate in the eyes of the crowd. Meanwhile, what many folks failed to notice is that countless black and Latino youth signed up to Facebook using handles. Most people don’t notice what black and Latino youth do online. Likewise, people from outside of the US started signing up to Facebook and using alternate names. Again, no one noticed because names transliterated from Arabic or Malaysian or containing phrases in Portuguese weren’t particularly visible to the real name enforcers. Real names are by no means universal on Facebook, but it’s the importance of real names is a myth that Facebook likes to shill out. And, for the most part, privileged white Americans use their real name on Facebook. So it “looks” right. . . .