YouTube now strongly encourages real names before leaving a comment. As the subject of cyber-bullying continues to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind, theories have been swirling that people are more emboldened to make inflammatory comments online because they can hide behind anonymity. Now YouTube is proposing to counteract that by encouraging users to use their real names when leaving comments on YouTube videos.
Currently when a YouTube user comments on a video, a box will pop up asking the user to leave their full name. The full name will be automatically populated through the user’s Google+ account, since a real, full name is required at sign up. The user can opt to not leave their full name, but they have to choose a reason as to why they will not do so from a drop down list, which includes reasons such as:
* My channel is for a product, business or organization
* My channel is for a music artist or group
* My channel is for a show or character
* My channel is for personal use, but I cannot use my real name
* My channel is well-known for other reasons
* I’m not sure I’ll decide later
Some speculate that the move is to clean up the website so that those looking to use it for professional means, such as film making and advertisers, will be more prone to do so. As it stands now. YouTube is widely known for its users’ cruel and sometimes abusive comments. While there doesn’t seem to be an issue regarding healthy debate, many comments appear to be just useless, cruel commentary.
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Just a quick scan for the purposes of this article shows:
* A video tutorial by a young woman on how to clean a toilet with a comment of, “Cleaning toilets is the ideal job for 21 year old virgins who got rejected by nursing school.”
* A video tutorial by a young woman giving a makeup tutorial, “Ewwwwww fat ugly bi_ch.”
* A video of two young girls who came across a wild mother rabbit giving birth to baby bunnies, “b-tches”
So far the response to this new policy has been divided, with some feeling that this will help clean up the needlessly cruel comments, while others eel that it takes away the freedom of full self expression, beyond just being mean. And some feel that this takes away the possibility of whistleblowing, while others are quick to point out that the amount of cruel anonymous comments far outweighs the number of anonymous comments made with good intentions. Further, many people have more than one Gmail account and certainly if they have important information to convey, such as to blow the whistle on unethical corporate practices, they can comment under the pseudonym of a spare account.
For now, only time will tell if users will be less inclined to leave unproductive comments if they are forced to use their real names, rather than hiding behind a handle.
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