Web anonymity, scourge of the internet or godsend?

Posted by Karen on Sep 2, 2011 12:00:00 AM
The case for anonymity on the world wide web has been brought to the fore again these past few weeks, following comments from Google’s head honcho Eric Schmidt at Edinburgh’s International Television Festival. “The internet would be better if we had an accurate notion that you were a real person as opposed to a dog, or a fake person, or a spammer.” I am split on whether anonymity is right or wrong - it’s not a cut and dry issue. I think there is a place for it, when say citizens write blogs or tweet in order to demand accountability or freedom from oppressive regimes, and do so anonymously for fear of reprisals from said governments. On the flip side, as Randi Zuckerberg of Facebook points out, ‘people behave a lot better when they have their real names down... I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.’ I think she’s right, online debates are often littered with unsavoury comments; people use them as a platform to play out petty rivalries, or simply to abuse and castigate others.  There is a sense that people should have conviction in their words and back that by having their names behind them. By anon.
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