The Pros and Cons of Internet Anonymity

Google is the newest heavy hitter in the social media world. One of the most notable differences between Google and other standard social media sites like Facebook or Twitter is that account holders are restricted from using pseudonyms. Anonymity is very common on the Internet, which is most likely the reason why Google ’s decision to ban pseudonyms has made such a large impact. There are a few key pros and cons to complete anonymity on the Internet, here are a few to consider.

Pros

    The Internet rarely requires users to provide their real names or implements effective methods of verifying personal information. Consider all the fake celebrity Twitter accounts, the source behind Twitter’s “Verified” status. However, easy anonymity comes with a specific layer of safety that is a necessity in many cases. Think of someone who has been the victim of abuse or stalking. For these individuals, being able to use a name other than their own makes them harder to find and therefore safer. In these cases, the connectivity that comes with the Internet can still be enjoyed while remaining at a safe distance from those they wish to stay away from.

Cons

    The majority of Internet annoyances, including crimes, begin with a fake persona on the Internet. Email scams, social media spam and profile hacks are all done by employing an anonymous account in one form or another. This makes anonymity on the Internet a complicated issue because it’s a difficult thing to adequately monitor. While there are methods, such as IP tracing, that can reveal the identity of most Internet users, generating a fake identity is still easy. In the same way that anonymity can grant freedom, it can also be a shield for criminals.

    Internet anonymity is a matter of personal responsibility. It is only as bad as the person taking advantage of it. When deciding your stance on the issue, first consider how you use it.

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