Taming the Wild Wild West, and the end of anonymity

thumbs up picI’ve ranted written about the dark side of anonymity before [here and here for those interested] but today I’m going to be all sweetness and light because the biggest social media machine of them all – Facebook – is finally doing something about the problem!

If you live on Facebook then you already know about the crack down on anonymous identities. Accounts have been suspended and some special interest groups have been hurt. I say that without any sarcasm – victims of domestic violence are just some of the innocents hurt by this policy. The sad reality is that some people have a very good reason for needing to remain anonymous.

Nonetheless, I believe that doing away with anonymity will make the WWW a better place to live for everyone, in the long run. Bullies will have to face the consequences of their actions in the real world… and so will scammers of all sorts.

As for the rest of us, a little common sense goes a long way. As an author, my name is my brand so I have to splash it around. However I work hard not to post anything that would identify my physical location – i.e. pictures of my house, my street etc. My real world friends and neighbours already know where I live, no one else needs to know.

The same caution extends to my family. I’ve posted a picture of myself but I will never post a picture of anyone else in my family. Nor will I use their real names.

There used to be a saying – ‘the walls have ears’ – meaning that the most innocent looking structures could contain listening devices monitored by spies [shades of the Cold War perhaps?]. Anyway, I believe we have to start treating the WWW with a similar degree of caution; it may just be digital but it is a world, and it can bite.

Hmm… this seems to have turned into a mini rant after all. 😦

Have a great weekend people!



About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

11 responses to “Taming the Wild Wild West, and the end of anonymity

  • Yvonne Hertzberger

    As usual, given my penchant for analysis and seeing the big picture rather than the details, I can see both sides of this argument. I agree that there have to be methods in place to control and identify those who abuse the cover of anonymity. On the other hand, there are some who need it for safety: those who are hiding from abusers, those whose “name” is their brand and want to be known by that, such as drag queens, those that have more than one kind of business and who might have issues if the same name applied to both. One example of the latter is an author who might write in more than one genre – children’s books and erotica. What I’d like to see is that FB create a private mechanism by which they will know the true identity of the subscriber, but that this be hidden from the public. For this to work, however, there also has to be a procedure in place for complaints to be dealt with fairly and promptly.


  • tdmckinnon

    I’m with you, 100%, Meeks. I grew up around the same time frame as you (a fraction before actually), and I think our mind set is fairly typical of our generation. Nowadays people in general have a totally different concept of private and privacy. When I was growing up Big Brother was a scary concept from a sci-fi story, ‘1984’; to this day I cannot watch even a moment of the television program of the same name. Mind you I can’t abide reality shows in any shape or form.


    • acflory

      -grin- Yes, we’re definitely of the same vintage TD and I’ve never been able to re-read 1984. As for the whole Big Brother phenomenon… why does anyone watch it? Seriously. 😦


  • davidprosser

    Hello Lady , whoever you are. I’m glad the bullies, trolls, conmen et al will no longer be able to hide to do their spiteful nasty things but I think there is, and always will be a place for anonymity . I think they should be allowed to register their need so that it can be granted but that any abuse from within that group can easily be traced.
    I believe the ‘Walls have ears’ is a WWII saying and poster.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx


    • acflory

      I agree, strange-man-by-the-name-of-David. 🙂 Hopefully these are just the inevitable hiccups at the start of any new initiative.

      And thank you! I have a head full of disconnected bits and pieces. It’s nice to know where one of them comes from. 🙂


  • Carrie Rubin

    I don’t post pics of my family either, or mention their names. Unfortunately, much can be found on the Internet–addresses, spouses names, etc., even if we didn’t put it out there. I’m not sure privacy as we know it will ever be the same. Sigh.


    • acflory

      You’re right, a truly determined stalker could probably discover a hell of a lot about our lives. But even so, why make it any easier than it already is?

      The thing I find heartening is that most of the time, we exist here quite happily without any negative experiences. To me that means there are far more nice people online than nasties.

      Liked by 1 person

  • EllaDee

    A justifiable rant, and what seems like commonsense to us is clearly not on the radar of others… I’m amazed at the FB profiles sans security-visibility settings I encounter that share so much publicly. Although I have a modest FB footprint I’ve pruned it back further, and kept it separate to blogging although the connections converge somewhat via Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
    It’s a credit to the blogging community we exist within that we manage to share and create relationships but at the same time maintaining a sensible level of privacy not for the benefit of our primary visible connections but as a safeguard against those unknown.


    • acflory

      Well said, EllaD. I’m sometimes tempted to post more personal stuff because you guys are all friends. But then I remember that there are lots of lurkers out there. I’ve been a lurker myself, and I”m sure most are just shy, but there are no guarantees so it pays to be cautious.


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