Two Ways of Social Networking: Anonymity or Openness?

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Social networking is an open space for communicating. A user registers an account to express his/her opinion in blogs, to share comments, or to create his/her own pages. But it appears that the room for anonymity is narrowing in some social networks. Facebook, with about 600 million users, requires its new members to sign up using their real names and has a security team of more than 150 members to police its rules.

As Businessweek reports, Facebook has recently made a new attempt to create a ‘friendlier Internet’. It suggests a free commenting tool to Web publishers. With Facebook's new system, which is called “Facebook Contact”, publishers can link users’ comments to their social network accounts and display their profile picture and real name alongside their posts. The aim is to cut off anonymous acrid comments, making opinions of ‘real names’ more valuable. The new feature gave a new impulse to business lines too. It helps Facebook to better target it ads, and partner sites benefit from more page views.

Anti-Facebook message forum creator, Christopher Poole, advocates Web anonymity. His 4chan.org message boards attract 12 million unique visitors per month and are filled with comments and images which are sometimes near the knuckle. It is a place as well that has given birth to some of the well known trends in Internet. Poole’s idea is that web anonymity frees people to take risks that lead to innovation. So he received $625,000 from venture capitalists, including the Silicon Valley firm Andreessen Horowitz, to develop the business. The new version of 4chan is a place for images exchange and sharing. As Poole says, they use Facebook Contact to make sure a new user is a real person; but they do not show the user’s name or profile information, therefore protecting their privacy in Internet.


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