Google Plus No Longer Requires Real Names

By David Cohen 

Nametags650Your move, Facebook: Google Plus announced on its own Google Plus page that it has eliminated its policy of requiring users to sign up with their real names.

Facebook still requires use of real names, despite objections to that policy, but Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek this past January that the policy was being loosened for the separate mobile applications the social network is developing under its Facebook Creative Labs initiative, telling the magazine:

I don’t know if the balance has swung too far, but I definitely think we’re at the point where we don’t need to keep on only doing real identity things. If you’re always under the pressure of real identity, I think that is somewhat of a burden. It’s definitely, I think, a little bit more balanced now 10 years later. I think that’s good.

Google Plus said in announcing its policy shift:

When we launched Google Plus over three years ago, we had a lot of restrictions on what name you could use on your profile. This helped create a community made up of real people, but it also excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using their real names.

Over the years, as Google Plus grew and its community became established, we steadily opened up this policy, from allowing page owners to use any name of their choosing to letting YouTube users bring their usernames into Google Plus. Today, we are taking the last step: There are no more restrictions on what name you can use.

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 Plus 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 Plus the thoughtful community that it is.

Readers: Should Facebook follow suit?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.