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Google+ Now Allows Pseudonyms If You Have a “Meaningful” Following

A while back, Google+ developers mentioned that they’d be allowing pseudonyms at some point in the future, suggesting that it had been a planned feature all along, despite the banning of several pseudonymed users at the service’s start. Well now that option is finally being rolled out, but with a catch: You have to prove that your pseudonym is already has some pull somewhere. You can’t just give yourself a nickname and have it stick on Google+. You have to get people to call you by it first.

The process of proving your right to any given pseudonym can go a few different ways. First, you can provide examples of the nickname being used as a reference to you in some sort of primitive, offline medium, like a newspaper article or a magazine spot. Barring that, you can take option two, which is to prove that you have a “meaningful” (your guess is as good as mine) following with that name online. Presumably some sort of Twitter follower count, or a well-trafficked blog or something.

That’s not all though. Google may want to see some documents from you that prove your real name. Like, real, legal documents. A scanned image of your Driver’s License, for example. Of course that, and any other documentation provided during the process, is said to be destroyed once verification is completed.

If it seems sort of harsh now, think about how harsh it was back when they straight up banned people. They eased up since then, and they’ll probably ease up again. For now, it’s up to you to decide how nefarious this all is and whether it’s an attempt to avoid trolls and create accountability, or an excuse to mine you for all the advertising data your worth. It’s also up to you whether or not to care whether it’s the former or the latter. If you have a nickname you desperately want to start using, but one that doesn’t have any clout yet, nothing is stopping you from displaying alongside your real name, but we both know that’ll make you look like a self-nicknaming tool. And to all you guys who got the world to start calling you “Sledge” years ago? Your payoff has finally come.

(via BBC)

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