Google Execs Explain Recent Google+ Suspensions

Some accounts were suspected of being fakes

Google has finally explained the recent wave of Google+ account suspensions meant to enforce the company’s “common name” policy, reports Mashable. Google explains the name guidelines in its User Content and Conduct Policy, saying, “To help fight spam and prevent fake profiles, use the name your friends, family, or co-workers usually call you. For example, if your full legal name is Charles Jones Jr. but you normally use Chuck Jones or Junior Jones, either of those would be acceptable.”

Over the weekend, a number of Google+ accounts suspected to be violating this policy were deleted. Some actually were fake profiles, but others just belonged to users with unusual names. (Their accounts were quickly restored.)

On Sunday, facing criticism from a number of disgruntled users, Google svp of social Vic Gundotra tried to explain the policy to blogger Robert Scoble, admitting that Google “made some mistakes while doing the first pass at this and they are learning.” He also told Scoble that Google is working on ways to handle pseudonyms, but that it will take some time before those features can be turned on.

Google vp of product Bradley Horowitz wrote his own, more detailed Google+ post yesterday to help further clear the air. “We’ve noticed that many violations of the Google+ common name policy were in fact well-intentioned and inadvertent, and for these users our process can be frustrating and disappointing,” he wrote. “So we’re currently making a number of improvements to this process—specifically regarding how we notify these users that they’re not in compliance with Google+ policies and how we communicate the remedies available to them.”

The changes will include giving users proper warning and a chance to change their names, providing a “clear indication” of how users can choose acceptable names, and better expectations for “next steps and time frames” for users in the process of changing names. Horowitz also said that Google is trying to update the sign-up process to try to avoid these problems completely.