Since we first reported the launch of Google+ it has become more and more popular and is now well established despite not even existing for a year yet. To start with many people discovered their accounts were being deleted due to a strict real name policy the social network has. We then brought you news that this policy was being changed and today we can confirm Google has relaxed the rule allowing for users to have nicknames and pseudonyms if they so wish.
The change in policy rules was confirmed when Google Executive Bradley Horowitz posted it on his Google+ account page last night. The reason behind the rule change, as the article at the BBC explains, comes after the social network received criticism from human rights groups who claimed there were certain circumstances that prevented individuals from using their real names, for example their well-being could be at risk if their true identities were revealed.
Horowitz noted that 20% of the 0.1% of users who filed name appeals wanted to use an unconventional name or pseudonym. While the rules now state that real names do not have to be used, any nicknames or pseudonyms must be proven to have already been used elsewhere before they can be used on Google+. As Horowitz explained users who wish to take advantage of the new policy may be required to offer ‘references to an established identity offline in print media, news article etc.’ or provide ‘proof of an established identity online with a meaningful following.’
He went on to explain that in some cases ‘scanned official documentation, such as a drivers’ license’ may be required and in these cases it would take a few days to process the application. He also assured applicants that their appeal documentation would be destroyed once the process was successfully completed.
Are you glad to see the Google+ real name policy relaxed? Will you be using a nickname or pseudonym?