Conflicts over internet service real name policies / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Nymwars is a name given to series of conflicts over policies that mandate all users of certain internet communications platforms identify themselves using their legal names. The term is mostly associated with Google's name policies on Google+ and YouTube. Nymwars is a blend word composed from (pseudo)nym and wars. The name appears to have gained prominence as the hashtag "#nymwars" on Twitter.

Conflicts regarding Google+ began in July 2011 when the social networking site began enforcing its real name only policy by suspending the accounts of users it felt were not following the policy.[1] Pseudonyms, nicknames, and non-standard real names (for example, mononyms or names that include scripts from multiple languages) were suspended. The issue was settled in July 2014 when Google announced that it was ending its real-name policy.[2]

A predecessor to the Google+ conflict was Blizzard's RealID, which starting in July 2010, exposes the name on the player's credit card, and is mandatory to use some game features (cross-game chat) and was nearly made mandatory to post on discussion forums.[3][4][5]

These issues have existed since the beginning of online identity, and are related to the alleged online disinhibition effect. The resulting discussions have raised many issues regarding naming, cultural sensitivity, public and private identity, privacy, and the role of social media in modern discourse. The debate has been covered widely in the press including Wired,[6] The Atlantic,[7] and The New York Times.[8]

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