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[ NNSquad ] Changes to YouTube commenting policy vs. anonymity

Changes to YouTube commenting policy vs. anonymity

Choosing how you're seen on YouTube 
http://j.mp/MjpVKT  (YouTube Blog)

Google Begins Practically Begging You to Use Your Real Name on YouTube
http://j.mp/Mjq4xW  (BetaBeat)

Press reports seem to be treating this story as a Google hates
anonymity story, but I believe that's an inaccurate characterization.
Google appears to have evolved into a rather layered approach, with
different services falling into different slots on the identity
continuum.  For example, Google Search can be used without any
accounts at all.  Toward the other end of the spectrum, Google+ is
more identity oriented, but is now fairly flexible in terms of
displayed names -- and doesn't require identity verification.
Obviously, Google services that involve financial transactions require
verification such as a credit card.  YouTube is sort of in the middle,
requiring accounts to upload or comment, but not to simply view
videos.  And while new YouTube channels are essentially aliases of
regular Google accounts, these are not held to the same (higher)
standard as Google+ identities.

The new YouTube approach appears to encourage better identification
beyond channel IDs, but does not actually require this.  Nor do I
believe that later requiring a higher identity standard for YouTube
comments would be practical without fundamentally restricting the
dynamic there in a significantly negative way.

Along with all this it should be remembered that YouTube videos do not
have to accept comments at all (though doing so should always be
encouraged), and that YouTube also supports pre-moderation of comments
(more work for the video poster, but extremely useful, and something
that I sorely wish Google+ also offered).

Addendum: "In Google Begins Practically Begging You to Use Your Real
Name on YouTube" (today, from "BetaBeat") - their discussion of changes
to YouTube's commenting identity system is not entirely clear as to
whether or not the choice of commenting on videos using a YouTube
channel identity (vs. a Google+ name identity) is a one-time choice
(reversible?) or (in at least some cases) on a video-by-video choice
basis.  Since it would be completely reasonable to want to choose
using your YouTube channel identity for some comments, and your
Google+ name for other YouTube comments, this is a potentially
important issue.

Lauren Weinstein (lauren@vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren 
Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org 
 - Data Wisdom Explorers League: http://www.dwel.org
 - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org 
 - Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance: http://www.gctip.org
 - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com 
Member: ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
Google+: http://vortex.com/g+lauren / Twitter: http://vortex.com/t-lauren 
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com
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