Should you have to reveal your real name on Facebook?

Lord Allan of Facebook and author Viktor Mayer-Schönberger wrangle over the social networking site’s real name policy, its claim to transparency and its use of personal data.

At our Facebook event in February, audience members quizzed Lord (Richard) Allan, the company’s director of policy in Europe, over its real name policy, its claim to transparency and its use of personal data. Fellow panellist, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, the author of Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, described Facebook’s ethos as being based on founder Mark Zuckerberg’s “naive American conception” that more free speech and transparency were necessarily forces for good around the world. Lord Allan defended his boss: “We’ve created a system that is avowedly about openness and connection based on the idea that the world will be a happier place if we are more open and connected with each other. That’s our thesis.”

Main image: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images).

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Comments (4)

Automated machine translations are provided by Google Translate. They should give you a rough idea of what the contributor has said, but cannot be relied on to give an accurate, nuanced translation. Please read them with this in mind.

  1. I do believe that using ones real name should be required everywhere. This would, hopefully, lower the amount of abuses online. There are some drawbacks perhaps, but nothing I would see as unique to Facebook and their real name policy in particular. Everyone could, on an alias based platform, just create an account and claim that they are someone who they are not.

    I think that online presence should be reflected as in real life. Why should one really be given an opportunity to hide from who one is?

  2. I agree with Innas Alatawi, the word “privacy” on social networking sites is loosing its meaning. “Personal information” is becoming inexistent.

  3. This is making me think, if social media and online tools are created to provide an open and transparent platform, then what does privacy really mean when it comes to “personal” information that we choose to post online and we choose to share with others who may share them with people we might not even know! SO, in this technologically advanced and online savvy era what does privacy really mean? A big question mark here!

  4. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    it’s very bad not to have privacy, but now we can’t avoid changes, or we can deactivate our account, ’cause it’s wether we like it or not, our way of life.

  5. Fejsbuk je najvece zlo danasnjice. Mislim da su ljudi izgubili socijalnu konekciju, i umesto toga pokusavaju da te rupe dopune u virtuelnom svetu. Takodje, ljudi su izgubili osecaj za privatnost, i izgradili svet u kojem mogu da se pokazuju kao drugaciji nego sto zaista jesu. Sve ova je pokrenulo talas neiskrenog, isfoliranog, isforsiranog odnosa izmedju ljudi, koji je uzeo preveliki procreant populacije. I ni u jednom trenutku ne govori da ce ovaj trend da prestane.

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Free Speech Debate is a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at St Antony's College in the University of Oxford.

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