Will G+ Real Name Policy Changes Effect The YouTube Comment Troll Population?

Yesterday Google announced via its G+ Plus page that users would no longer be required to use their real names publicly on their Google+ profile page.
Google addressed the issue by stating in their post:

“We know you’ve been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today’s change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be. Thank you for expressing your opinions so passionately, and thanks for continuing to make Google+ the thoughtful community that it is.”

Google faced a massive backlash initially in 2011, and also in 2013, when it forced Youtube users to have a G+ profile in order to comment. This resulted in an online petition that has, to date, been signed by over 240,000 people and was coincidentally created by “John Doe” from Texas.

They're ba-ack - unleash the trolls

At the time forcing Youtube commenters to adopt a G+ profile in order to comment allowed for a substantial increase in the amount of users registering for G+ profiles, and helped control the vast amount of trolls populating the comment threads.Forcing the troll population entrenched in Youtube comment threads to be instantly accountable for all of those horrid comments – because let’s face it, it’s pretty hard to say nasty things when your real name is posted next to a photo of you in your best Christmas sweater.

There has been a decidedly mixed reaction to the news. Some are overjoyed at the opportunity to return to the use of nicknames and the anonymity they bring to an online world where so much personal and private information is readily available. Others fear the massive wave of internet trolls that will surely be returning to the YouTube comments section. Yonatan Zunger, chief architect at Google plus commented on the concerns stating “Oh, don’t worry. One of the reasons this is safe to launch is that our troll-smashing department has gotten very good at their jobs. :)” We really, really, hope that’s true!

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