Advertisement

OkCupid's New Real Name Policy Is Dumb

OkCupid's New Real Name Policy Is Dumb
From Gizmodo - December 22, 2017

OkCupid announced this week that it would scrap all of the usernames on its site and require prospective daters to use their real names instead. Naturally, a bunch of OkCupid users are now worried about being exposed to harassment from people they turn down on the dating site.

Before the new year, were removing OkCupid usernames, the company said in a statement. Its starting with a test group and will soon be rolled out to everyone on OkCupid, so all users will need to update their profiles with their real names.

Anonymity can be an important part of online existence, especially in contexts like dating, where the potential for harassment is a bit higher than other social interactions. OkCupid users often use silly usernames to shield their real identities and prevent harassment, and many of them are complaining about the risks associated with OkCupids new policy.

Any loss of privacy increases potential of danger for vulnerable users, said Elle Armageddon, a privacy advocate who educates people about protecting themselves online. Forcing users to use their real names puts them more at risk of stalking, which is already a very real threat in online dating. Additionally, OkCupids commentary about birth names is particularly damaging and alienating to users who do not identify with their legal names, for whatever reason.

OkCupid isnt the first company to be criticized for eroding user privacy with a real name policy. Facebook faced backlash in 2014 for insisting that its users sign up with their real names. The Electronic Frontier Foundation noted that Facebooks policy was particularly harmful to activists and members of the LGBTQ community.

Pseudonyms can enable people to access information, social services, and gain entry to communities while maintaining safety, EFFs Jillian York and Dia Kayyali wrote. This is especially true online, where individuals from distributed or marginalized groups can find community, spread awareness of issues they face, and seek information.

Advertisement

Continue reading at Gizmodo »