You see something online and find you want to comment on it but don’t want you reveal your identity at the same time?
That is one of the reasons why the social networking world is great and awful at the same time. Users can express their feelings and opinions, good or bad anonymously. One of the reasons why Twitter is so popular is because users can post those 140 characters messages without fear of repercussions, in theory. Due to the trolling behaviour of some users and the type of messages posted there have been causes for the law to become involved and the questions of whether social networks should be forced to reveal the real identity of those users was raised.
Not every social network user who uses a pseudonym is doing so for nefarious purposes, some of these people could be reaching out to a community where they need answers, a virtual community full of strangers who don’t know anything about them. So you can imagine the furor caused when Facebook revealed they were going to force users to use their real names. The aim is meant to protect users from stalkers, abusers alike, however something perhaps Facebook has failed to realise is that users could be using pseudonyms to protect themselves because they have been victims of stalking and abuse. The LGBT community are another group of people who are not keen on using their real identities, for many people they have not revealed their sexuality to the world and see it as a private matter. Drag queen acts who have Facebook profiles using their stage names are being forced to use their birth names claim this is causing them loss of business and followers as many of their fans only of them by their stage names.
Because of these restrictions coming into play we are seeing apps and social networking sites who focus on the importance of being anonymous online being created. The app Secret allows you to share ‘ …messages anonymously within their circle of friends, friends of friends, and publicly.‘ With Secrets follos the app called Whisper which ‘…allow users to send messages anonymously, and to receive replies.‘, though an article published in The Guardian suggests otherwise. It would seem the Whisper app is tracking the location of its users including those who opted out of being followed. Naturally the creaters of Whisper denied this but have now re-written their terms of conditions to include ‘they now explicitly permit the company to establish the broad location of people who have disabled the app’s geolocation feature.‘ Imagine that, being stalked by an app!
No matter how much we want to believe we can remain anonymous it simply is not true as has been proven by the Whisperer app. Users may be able to post message but someone somewhere will still know who the person is behind the message.
With all this talk about being anonymity in the social media world we can’t forget about the ‘anti Facebook’ social network called Ello.“The way to think about Ello is there are absolutely no advertisements, no data mining” The only way to join this network is by invitation only either by an existing member of by sending a request. This company offers a free service but aims to make a profit through additional features which users can pay for.
The likes of Twitter and Facebook, like them or hate them are established networks so it’s understandable any competition is going to have to offer something the popular networks aren’t, in this case privacy.